The Governor General's Translation Winners

View all Award Winning Books for Adults book lists; This list was last updated on 10/8/2014
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The Governor General's Literary Awards – known affectionately as “the GGs” – were first awarded in 1936. The GGs were initiated by Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir (John Buchan), a prolific writer himself who published more than 100 works in his lifetime. Each year, the Governor General's Literary Awards honour the best in Canadian literature. As Canada's national literary awards, the GGs represent the rich diversity of Canadian literature. Some 1,600 books are submitted each year from English and French-language publishers representing authors, translators and illustrators from across Canada, in seven categories: Fiction, Poetry, Drama, 

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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On the Eighth Day

In On the Eighth Day, Antonine Maillet imagines a solution to the world's problems: a wider and more exuberant world, with its right more left and its left more right, created on "the day when everything is dared and anything is possible." She spins a tale of two brothers — a giant carved from an oak tree and a scamp shaped out of bread dough — born one remarkable night when magic made wishes come true. Thrilled to have a son to call their own, Mr. Goodman and Mrs. Goodwife play favourite and bicker over which creation is the better child, causing a rift in the family.

To ease the fighting, John-Bear and Big-as-a-Fist decide to set off to seek their fortunes. But first they must visit their godmother, Clara-Galante, to receive their inheritance. A witch who lives deep in the woods, she gives them three wishes and some kind words, before sending the heroes "out into the world to follow their curious destiny beyond the hills on the horizon," left foot first for good luck.

Wending their way through unforgettable lands — the Timeless Village, the Upside-Down Town, the Path of the Vicious Circle — the lads make many strange friends, who, peculiar as they are, seem strangely familiar. But, wherever Life leads them, Death lurks close behind.

A wonderful picaresque akin to a cheerful Gulliver's Travels, a comic Pilgrim's Progress or an Acadian Wizard of Oz, On the Eighth Day is a fast-moving tale starring richly developed characters in a funny and poignant road story in which allegory gains power by taking a back seat to enchantment.

Yellow-Wolf & Other Tales of the Saint Lawrence (Dossier Quebec Series)
These fireside tales, now translated for the first time, were originally published posthumously in 1893. Brierley's introduction and annotations provide fascinating insights into the life and times of one of the fathers of Canadian literature.
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Imagining the Middle East
Recipient of the Governor General's Literary Award for Translation, this book examines how the Western perception of the Middle East was formed and how we have used these perceptions to determine policies. "This remarkable book could be seen as advancing our understanding beyond professor Edward Said's Orientalism."--Cresent
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Why Must a Black Writer Write About Sex?
"field notes" on North America, Haiti, tr D Homel
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Bambi and Me
Bambi and Me consists of 12 autobiographical pieces about how movies shaped the young life of Michel Tremblay, one of their biggest fans. Among others, he talks about Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, Orphée and the Night Visitors and about how each led to his discovery of his emerging emotional sensibilities as a child and an adolescent. In the piece that gives the book its title, he writes: “Did you cry as much as I did at the death of Bambi's mother? Personally, I've never got over it.”

Bursting with wit, charm, and the profound resonance of youthful self-discovery, Bambi and Me provides Tremblay's many fans with a clear sense of the origins of the talent which has made Michel Tremblay one of the most important and fascinating playwrights and novelists of the 20th century.
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Gabrielle Roy
Despite the popularity and critical success Gabrielle Roy found as a writer, she lived a life often touched by sadness. In this definitive account of her life, François Ricard draws a penetrating and eloquent portrait that does full honour to his extraordinary subject.
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Just Fine
Just Fine is a touching and often hilarious novel that traces the mishaps and misadventures of a conflicted agoraphobe: a woman psychologically restricted to a life indoors but spiritually inclined to wander the meadows, roads, and community beyond the house and river of her youth. Her struggle assumes historic proportions when her neighbors in the small town of Dieppe begin to dream of their own escapes from the insular, predictable cadences of life in Acadia: Camil changes his name; Terry embarks on a voyage of discovery; Carmen studies exotic river deltas; Elizabeth searches for a transcendent love; and the woman at the center of it all, the agoraphobe, dreams of travelling to Paris and telling her story to a French television star. The course of their endeavors, like the river that dominates Dieppe, twists and turns, and playfully reveals a landscape of wonderment and new beginnings. In its brilliant collage of river lore, art history, astrology, and mythology France Daigle's rich and witty novel journeys beyond the cultural, psychological, and literary bounds within which its characters live and leads us to where history, fantasy, and memory collide.
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Fairy Ring
In 1895, the arctic explorer Captain Ian Ryder has let his house in Blackpool on the Nova Scotia coast to the recently married Clara Weiss, who is about to become the compass of a social circle far too intimate for its own good. Lost in a maze of obsessive Victorian pseudo-science and its ignorant fascinations with violence, spiritualism, the reanimation of corpses, the channelling of passions, and especially with the control of every aspect and function of the body, particularly the bodies of women, these characters are increasingly rendered impotent by the collision of their fantasies with their repressions—the sadism of their lust to penetrate others, and the masochism of their own constricted closures.

As Captain Ryder says of his crew as his claustrophobic ship continues to drift, trapped in the harsh white light of the polar ice: “How repelled I feel by this promiscuity with individuals for whom I truly feel nothing but aversion.”

Set in the year Freud published his ground-breaking essay on hysteria, this is a compulsively readable, beautiful and dark novel of personal relations so close they verge on the incestuous, and desires so vast they approach the cold crystalline purity of the archetype.
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Thunder and Light
Thunder and Light is the much-anticipated second book in Marie-Claire Blais's spectacular and ambitious trilogy chronicling the mood of our apocalyptic age. It is the sequel to These Festive Nights, winner of the Governor General's Award for French fiction; a novel Le Devoir called the Divine Comedy of our time.
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Memoirs of a Less Travelled Road
Memoirs of a Less Traveled Road: A Historian's Life
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Mirabel
The tragic circumstances surrounding the construction of Montreal's Mirabel airport are recreated in the brilliantly disturbing poems in this collection that transform the specific into an engaging discussion of universal themes.
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Truth Or Death
In the tradition of James Frazer, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, Thierry Hentsch retells, with new urgency and a keen critical eye, “the story of the West” that shapes our perception of the world. Yet, “the story of the West” does not exist. Only a reading of its most seminal texts—from Ulysses to Hamlet, from the Torah to the Gospels, from Plato to Descartes—can bring it alive.

His tale turns on a startling discovery: The Christian message of immortality is conditional. To overcome death—the touchstone of the human condition—the believer must accept the Truth of salvation. Western civilization, by replacing God with technoscience, offers the universal promise that salvation may now be gained on earth. Yet, as a condition, it would impose its own absolute morality on the world. Truth or Death: the Biblical injunction is ours as well.

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Vetiver

Joël Des Rosiers is an acclaimed Haitian-born francophone writer whose work has been nominated for the Governor General's Award and whose life reads like a novel -- he is a psychiatrist, an award-winning poet and a political activist on the international stage. Vetiver won the Grand Prix du livre de Montréal and the Grand Prix du Festival international de la poésie de Trois Rivières; Hugh Hazelton's English translation also won the Governor General's Award for Translation.

Vetiver, a grass also known as cuscus, was brought from the Indies to Haiti. There it has taken root and flourished, becoming all-pervasive. The heavy aroma of the grass permeates everything. In Vetiver, the grass is a powerful, mythical symbol for Joël Des Rosiers, representing the root of lyrical possibility. An homage to his native land, Des Rosiers' narrative poem evokes all of the wild opulence of the Caribbean world and plumbs the depths of memory in language that is rich and multihued, full of tangible flavours. It is a hymn to the power of the word, the book and the voice, guided by the heritage of ancestors and the sensual proximity of people and things.

Des Rosiers revisits themes from his three previous collections here: nostalgia, the search for roots and identity, the pain of memory, and the exploration of real and imagined spaces. Rooted in mystery and sacrifice, these narrative poems are shaped by extreme tensions that blend, in a strange way, with a seemingly clinical erudition where the melancholy of the flesh offers itself up as a substitution for mourning, religious ceremony and sensuality.

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Augustino and the Choir of Destruction
With Augustino and the Choir of Destruction, literary legend Marie-Clair Blais concludes her famed trilogy set on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Written in her trademark style, which includes surreal surprises and idiosyncratic characters, this book presents a rich tapestry of humankind: Our Lady of the Bags, announcing the end of the world; Charles, a great poet cut down by AIDS; and Caroline, a transvestite Cinderella and artist. Most amazing — yet typical of the imaginative power of Blais' work — is the title character, a clairvoyant child writer who challenges the destructive forces in everyday life.
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Nikolski
Spring 1989. Three young people leave their far-flung birthplaces to follow their own songs of migration. Each ends up in Montreal, each on a voyage of self-discovery, dealing with the mishaps of heartbreak and the twisted branches of their shared family tree.

Filled with humor, charm, and good storytelling, this novel shows the surprising links between cartography, garbage-obsessed archeologists, pirates past and present, a mysterious book with no cover, and a broken compass whose needle obstinately points to the Aleutian village of Nikolski (a minuscule village inhabited by thirty-six people, five thousand sheep, and an indeterminate number of dogs).
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Pieces of Me
Mirabelle's art teacher tells her she has talent, but what good is it doing her? Almost fifteen and friendless, Mira is plagued by dark thoughts. Her body seems to be changing daily. Her mother is domineering and half-crazy and her father --- well, he's her ex-father, mostly out of Mira's life and awkward when he's around.

Then she meets free-spirited, confident Catherine, a knockout who makes the boys' jaws drop. Not only is Catherine good at art like Mira, she also knows about kissing boys. Mira has never kissed anyone and doesn't understand the hungry way boys are beginning to look at her.

Now that Mira's finally found someone she can talk to, her dark thoughts are vanishing. But as her friend encourages her to come out of her shell, Mira finds that her new-found confidence can still be shattered in an instant.

Only after Mira faces a betrayal and a tragedy can she begin to put the fragmented pieces of herself together.
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Forests
By the author of Scorched, which won the Governor General's Award in 2002.
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Partita for Glenn Gould
Glenn Gould (1932-1982) was a giant of twentieth-century classical music, but one whose eccentricities have sometimes obscured the moral seriousness of his approach to art. Countering this common misperception, Partita for Glenn Gould is an eloquent tribute to the artist that illuminates his versatile genius, his thinking, and our reasons for loving his art.
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Mai at the Predators' Ball
In Mai at the Predators' Ball, Marie-Claire Blais, literary legend and four-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, offers a mesmerizing and unforgettable portrait of imaginary beings who seem to embrace the whole of humanity.

Every night in the Saloon, after darkness falls, a group of boys are transformed into creatures we see only in dreams. They adorn themselves in colourful dresses and wigs and they take to the stage to sing and dance. They open their arms to those who are excluded — both men and women, triumphant and threatened, both free and bound — and every evening is a carnival of freedom and transgression.

With this masterful novel, Blais invites us to share the drama of perfect joy, the tragedy of happiness, and she gives us her best work yet.
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