GGBooks 2017 finalists revealed

70  bold, authentic, Canadian books up for the Governor General's Literary Awards

October 4, 2017
The 2017 GGBooks finalists

Ottawa, October 4, 2017– The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the 2017 finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards. From 1,475 titles submitted for consideration in both English and French, 70 books have been selected by peer assessment committees as the best of 2017. GGBooks is one of Canada’s longest-standing literary awards, and is among the country’s most diverse awards programs – honouring works in seven categories and two official languages.


“The announcement of the finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards is always an enticing and powerful invitation to discovery through reading because the bold choice of topics and literary approaches, together with evocative illustrations and dazzling translations, attract, delight and entrance all kinds of readers,” said Canada Council Director and CEO Simon Brault.  “Our culture depends on our literature, which does us proud around the world.”

Our  culture depends on our literature, which does us proud around the world.

Simon Brault, Director & CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

Important dates:

  • Wednesday, November 1, 6:00 am: The full list of winners will be unveiled at
  • Wednesday, November 29, 6:00 pm, in her first official ceremony with the Canada Council, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Awards at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa.
  • Thursday, November 30, 11:45 am – 1:00 pm: Readers are invited to meet the English-language GGBooks winners at a public reading and book signing at the Canada Council, 150 Elgin St., Ottawa (event with French-language winners on Wednesday, November 29, 11:45 am – 1:00 pm).

About the Awards:

  • Founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Awards are one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious literary awards program with a total value of $450,000. The Canada Council for the Arts has funded, administered and promoted the awards since 1959.
  • GGBooks finalists are chosen by peer assessment committees per category, per language (7 in English and 7 in French), who consider eligible books published between September 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017 for English-language books and between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017 for French-language books.
  • Each winner receives $25,000. The publisher of each winning book receives $3,000 to support promotional activities. Non-winning finalists each receive $1,000.
  • Over their 81 years, the Governor General’s Literary Awards have celebrated more than 700 works by over 500 authors, poets, playwrights, translators and illustrators.

English-language finalists


  • All the Beloved Ghosts – Alison MacLeod (Brighton, UK)
    Penguin Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
  • Lost in September – Kathleen Winter (Montreal)
    Alfred A. Knopf Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
  • The Water Beetles – Michael Kaan (Winnipeg)
    Goose Lane Editions
  • Uncertain Weights and Measures – Jocelyn Parr (Montreal)
    Goose Lane Editions
  • We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night – Joel Thomas Hynes (St. John’s, N.L.)
    HarperCollins Publishers


  • All the Names Between – Julia McCarthy (Upper Kennetcook, N.S.)
    Brick Books
  • On Not Losing My Father's Ashes in the Flood – Richard Harrison (Calgary)
    Buckrider Books / Wolsak and Wynn Publishers
  • Selah – Nora Gould (Consort, Alta.)
    Brick Books
  • Slow War – Benjamin Hertwig (Vancouver)
    McGill-Queen's University Press
  • What the Soul Doesn't Want – Lorna Crozier (North Saanich, B.C.)
    Freehand Books


  • 1979 – Michael Healey (Toronto)
    Playwrights Canada Press
  • Indian Arm – Hiro Kanagawa (Port Moody, B.C.)
    Playwrights Canada Press
  • The Colony of Unrequited Dreams – Robert Chafe (St. John’s, N.L.)
    Playwrights Canada Press
  • The Virgin Trial – Kate Hennig (Stratford, Ont.)
    Playwrights Canada Press
  • Within the Glass – Anna Chatterton (Hamilton, Ont.)
    Scirocco Drama / J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing


  • All We Leave Behind: A Reporter's Journey into the Lives of Others – Carol Off (Toronto)
    Random House Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
  • The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada's Best Publisher and the Best Part of our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational – Elaine Dewar (Toronto)
  • The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State – Graeme Wood (Connecticut, U.S.)
    Random House / Penguin Random House
  • Where I Live Now: A Journey through Love and Loss to Healing and Hope – Sharon Butala (Calgary)
    Simon and Schuster Canada
  • Where It Hurts – Sarah de Leeuw (Kelowna, B.C.)
    NeWest Press

Young People’s Literature (Text):

  • Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined – Danielle Younge-Ullman (Toronto)
    Razorbill / Penguin Canada Books
  • Hit the Ground Running – Alison Hughes (Edmonton, Alta.)
    Orca Books Publishers
  • The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline (Toronto)
    Dancing Cat Books / Cormorant Books
  • The Way Back Home – Allan Stratton (Toronto)
    Scholastic Canada
  • Those Who Run in the Sky – Aviaq Johnston (Iqaluit, Nunavut)
    Inhabit Media

Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books):

  • Short Stories for Little Monsters – Marie-Louise Gay (Montreal)
    Groundwood Books
  • The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk – Jan Thornhill (Havelock, Ont.)
    Groundwood Books
  • Town Is by the Sea – Joanne Schwartz / Sydney Smith (Toronto / Toronto)
    Groundwood Books
  • When the Moon Comes – Paul Harbridge / Matt James (Toronto /Toronto)
    Tundra Books / Penguin Random House Canada
  • When We Were Alone – David Alexander Robertson / Julie Flett (Winnipeg / Vancouver)
    HighWater Press

Translation (French to English):

  • Brothers – Katia Grubisic (Saint-Laurent, Que.)
    QC Fiction / Baraka Books; translation of Frères by David Clerson, Les Éditions Héliotrope
  • In Search of New Babylon – W. Donald Wilson (Baden, Ont.)
    Talonbooks; translation of À la recherche de New Babylon by Dominique Scali, La Peuplade
  • Readopolis – Oana Avasilichioaei (Montreal)
    BookThug; translation of Lectodôme by Bertrand Laverdure, Le Quartanier
  • Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries – Howard Scott (Montreal)
    University of Toronto Press; translation of Raison et déraison du mythe by Gérard Bouchard, Les Éditions du Boréal
  • The Longest Year – Pablo Strauss (Quebec City)
    House of Anansi Press; translation of L'année la plus longue by Daniel Grenier, Le Quartanier

French-language finalists


  • 117 Nord – Virginie Blanchette-Doucet (Saint-Eugène de Grantham, Que.)
    Les Éditions du Boréal
  • Le Palais de la fatigue – Michael Delisle (Montreal)
    Les Éditions du Boréal
  • Le plongeur – Stéphane Larue (Montreal)
    Le Quartanier
  • Le poids de la neige – Christian Guay-Poliquin (St-Armand, Que.)
    La Peuplade
  • L'imparfaite amitié – Mylène Bouchard (Saint-Fulgence, Que.)
    La Peuplade


  • Bec-de-lièvre – Annie Lafleur (Montreal)
    Le Quartanier
  • La main hantée – Louise Dupré (Montreal)
    Éditions du Noroît
  • L'isle Haute en marge de Grand-Pré – Serge Patrice Thibodeau (Moncton, N.B.)
    Éditions Perce-Neige
  • Pas de tombeau pour les lieux – Judy Quinn (Quebec City)
    Éditions du Noroît
  • Strange Fruits – Jean-Marc Desgent (Montreal)
    Poètes de brousse


  • Antigone au printemps – Nathalie Boisvert (Montreal)
    Leméac Éditeur
  • Dimanche napalm – Sébastien David (Montreal)
    Leméac Éditeur
  • Exercice de l'oubli – Emma Haché (Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphaël, N.B.)
    Lansman Editeur
  • Norge – Kevin McCoy (Quebec City)
    L'instant même
  • Trois petites sœurs – Suzanne Lebeau (Montreal)
    Leméac Éditeur


  • Je sais trop bien ne pas exister – Nicolas Lévesque (L'Assomption, Que.)
    Varia / Groupe Nota bene
  • La solitude de l'écrivain de fond – Daniel Grenier (Quebec City)
    Le Quartanier
  • Les Yeux tristes de mon camion – Serge Bouchard (Montreal)
    Les Éditions du Boréal
  • Propositions de clarté – Benoît Côté (Montreal)
    Éditions Nota bene
  • Soigner, aimer – Ouanessa Younsi (Montreal)
    Mémoire d'encrier

Young People’s Literature (Text):

  • Chroniques post-apocalyptiques d'une enfant sage – Annie Bacon (Montreal)
    Bayard Canada
  • L'élixir du baron Von Rezine – K. Lambert (Montreal)
    Éditions Pierre Tisseyre
  • Les moustiques – Jocelyn Boisvert (Havre-aux-Maisons, Que.)
    Soulières éditeur
  • L'importance de Mathilde Poisson – Véronique Drouin (Sherbrooke, Que.)
    Bayard Canada
  • Moi qui marche à tâtons dans ma jeunesse noire – Roxane Desjardins (Montreal)
    Les Herbes rouges

Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books):

  • Azadah – Jacques Goldstyn (Montreal)
    Les Éditions de la Pastèque
  • En voiture! L'Amérique en chemin de fer – Pascal Blanchet (Montreal)
    Les Éditions de la Pastèque
  • Fred Petitchatminou – Christiane Duchesne / Marion Arbona (Montreal / Paris, France)
    Les Éditions de la Bagnole
  • La légende de Carcajou – Renée Robitaille / Slavka Kolesar (Montreal / Jaffray, B.C.)
    Planète rebelle
  • Louis parmi les spectres – Fanny Britt / Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal / Montreal)
    Les Éditions de la Pastèque

Translation (English to French):

  • La disparition d'Heinrich Schlögel – Paule Noyart (Bromont, Que.)
    Leméac Éditeur; translation of The Search for Heinrich Schlögel by Martha Baillie, Pedlar Press
  • Le Sans-papiers – Carole Noël and Marianne Noël-Allen (Quebec City / Montreal)
    Éditions de la Pleine Lune; translation of The Illegal by Lawrence Hill, HarperCollins Publishers
  • Le sous-majordome – Sophie Voillot (Montreal)
    Éditions Alto; translation of Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt, House of Anansi Press
  • Premières lueurs : mon combat contre le trouble de stress post-traumatique – Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné (Montreal/ Montreal)
    Les Éditions Libre Expression; translation of Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD by Roméo Dallaire with Jessica Dee Humphreys, Random House Canada
  • Un barbare en Chine nouvelle – Daniel Poliquin (Ottawa)
    Les Éditions du Boréal; translation of Barbarian Lost: Travels in the New China by Alexandre Trudeau, HarperCollins Publishers

English-language peer assessment committees:

Fiction: Darren Greer, Robert Hough, Padma Viswanathan
Poetry: Nina Berkhout, Evelyn Lau, Douglas Burnet Smith
Drama: Alanis King, Bruce McManus, Erin Shields
Non-fiction: Elaine Kalman Naves, JJ Lee, Ray Robertson
Young People’s Literature (Text): Cheryl Foggo, Alma Fullerton, Kevin Major
Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books): Danielle Daniel, Robert Heidbreder, Brenda Jones
Translation (French to English): Robert Majzels, Jessica Moore, Glen Nichols

French-language peer assessment committees:

Fiction: Julie Hétu, Monia Mazigh, Yvon Paré
Poetry: Valérie Forgues, Hélène Harbec, Lenous Suprice
Drama: Marcelo Arroyo, Robert Claing, Dominique Lafon
Non-fiction: Maxime Catellier, Jean Morency, Claire Varin
Young People’s Literature (Text): Sandra Dussault, Micheline Marchand, Sylvain Meunier
Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books): Édith Bourget, Anne-Claire Delisle, Yayo
Translation (English to French): Jude Des Chênes, Louise Ladouceur, Robert Paquin

About Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national public arts funder. We champion and invest in artistic excellence so that Canadians may enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life. In 2016-17 we allocated $196.8 million dollars towards artistic creation and innovation through our grants, prizes and payments. We also conduct research, convene activities and work with partners to advance the sector and help embed the arts more deeply in communities across the country. We are responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for Canadians. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.


Download images of the finalist books – English / French

To book interviews with the finalists:
Charlene Coy, C2C Communications

Rideau Hall media contact for award ceremony:
Julie Rocheleau

Canada Council for the Arts Media Contact

Mireille Allaire

Manager, Communications and Engagement

150 Elgin St. P.O. Box 1047

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5V8


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