The Canada Council for the Arts Reveals the 2023 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalists

The 70 GGBooks of 2023

October 25, 2023

Ottawa, October 25, 2023 ― The Canada Council for the Arts is pleased to announce the 2023 finalists of the Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGBooks). These prestigious awards celebrate works published in Canada, in both official languages, across seven categories, and include books for readers of all ages.

“Announcing the 2023 Governor General’s Literary Awards finalists is exciting for everyone involved because we get to celebrate and help draw attention to some of this year’s most remarkable literary works. On behalf of the Canada Council for the Arts, I congratulate this year’s 70 finalists and I also thank the broader community of authors, illustrators, translators, publishers, booksellers, librarians and readers, whose combined enthusiasm for books contributes to the growing vitality and diversity of literature in Canada.”

— Michelle Chawla, Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

Following a rigorous process, the peer assessment committees convened by the Canada Council have selected 70 books published in Canada in 2022–2023 as this year’s finalists.

Mark your calendars

The 14 winners will be announced on on November 8, 2023.

About the GGBooks

  • Founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Awards are some of the oldest and most prestigious prizes in Canada, with a total annual prize value of $450,000.
  • The Canada Council for the Arts has funded, administered and promoted these awards since 1959.
  • Finalists are selected by category-specific, language-based peer assessment committees (seven in English and seven in French), who consider eligible books published between August 1 and July 31.
  • Each writer, translator or illustrator whose book is selected as the winner in its category receives a $25,000 prize. Publishers receive $3,000 to promote the winning book; finalists receive $1,000 each.

English-language finalists for 2023 (seven categories)


  • A History of Burning – Janika Oza (Toronto, Ontario) McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Random House Canada
  • Chrysalis – Anuja Varghese (Hamilton, Ontario) House of Anansi Press
  • In the Upper Country – Kai Thomas (Petersburgh, USA) Viking, Penguin Random House Canada
  • The Sleeping Car Porter – Suzette Mayr (Calgary, Alberta) Coach House Books
  • We Spread – Iain Reid (Kingston, Ontario) Scribner, Simon & Schuster Canada


  • Baby Book – Amy Ching-Yan Lam (Toronto, Ontario) Brick Books
  • Exculpatory Lilies – Susan Musgrave (Masset, British Columbia) McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Random House Canada
  • Old Gods – Conor Kerr (Edmonton, Alberta) Nightwood Editions
  • The Ridge – Robert Bringhurst (Heriot Bay, British Columbia) Harbour Publishing
  • Xanax Cowboy – Hannah Green (Winnipeg, Manitoba) House of Anansi Press


  • Forgiveness – Hiro Kanagawa (Port Moody, British Columbia) Playwrights Canada Press
  • Is My Microphone On? – Jordan Tannahill (London, United Kingdom) Playwrights Canada Press
  • The Enchanted Loom – Suvendrini Lena (Toronto, Ontario) Playwrights Canada Press
  • The War Being Waged – Darla Contois (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Scirocco Drama, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing
  • William Shakespeareʼs As You Like It: A Radical Retelling – Cliff Cardinal (Toronto, Ontario) Playwrights Canada Press


  • Gendered Islamophobia: My Journey With a Scar(f) – Monia Mazigh (Ottawa, Ontario) Mawenzi House Publishers
  • Invisible Boy: A Memoir of Self-Discovery – Harrison Mooney (Vancouver, British Columbia) HarperCollins Canada
  • Message in a Bottle: Ocean Dispatches from a Seabird Biologist – Holly Hogan (St. Johnʼs, Newfoundland and Labrador) Knopf, Penguin Random House Canada
  • Unbroken – Angela Sterritt (British Columbia) Greystone Books
  • Unearthing – Kyo Maclear (Toronto, Ontario) Knopf, Penguin Random House Canada

Young People’s Literature – Text

  • As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow – Zoulfa Katouh (Zurich, Switzerland) Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Hachette Book Group
  • Berani – Michelle Kadarusman (Toronto, Ontario) Pajama Press
  • Fire on Headless Mountain – Iain Lawrence (Gabriola Island, British Columbia) Margaret Ferguson Books, Penguin Random House Canada
  • The Probability of Everything – Sarah Everett (Edmonton, Alberta) Clarion Books, HarperCollins
  • Weird Rules to Follow – Kim Spencer (British Columbia) Orca Book Publishers

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

  • Boobies – Nancy Vo (British Columbia) Groundwood Books
  • Mr. S – Monica Arnaldo (Sainte-Julie, Quebec) Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins
  • Still This Love Goes On – Buffy Sainte-Marie (Kapaa, United States) and Julie Flett (Victoria, British Columbia) Greystone Kids, Greystone Books
  • The Skull – Jon Klassen (Los Angeles, United States) Candlewick Press
  • When You Can Swim – Jack Wong (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Scholastic Canada

Translation (from French to English)

  • Alone: The Journeys of Three Young Refugees – Arielle Aaronson (Montréal, Quebec) Groundwood Books Ltd. A translation of Seuls, by Paul Tom.
  • House Within a House – D.M. Bradford (Montréal, Quebec) Brick Books. A translation of Désormais, ma demeure, by Nicholas Dawson.
  • Kukum – Susan Ouriou (Calgary, Alberta) Arachnide, House of Anansi Press Inc. A translation of Kukum, by Michel Jean.
  • Okinum – Émilie Monnet (Chelsea, Quebec) Scirocco Drama, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing. A translation of Okinum, by Émilie Monnet.
  • Rosaʼs Very Own Personal Revolution – Peter McCambridge (Québec City, Quebec) QC Fiction, Baraka Books. A translation of La logeuse, by Éric Dupont.

French-language finalists for 2023 (seven categories)


  • Galumpf – Marie Hélène Poitras (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions Alto
  • Lʼor des mélèzes – Carole Labarre (Sept-Îles, Quebec) Mémoire dʼencrier
  • Mon fils ne revint que sept jours – David Clerson (Montréal, Quebec) Héliotrope
  • Sombre est la nuit – Brigitte Haentjens (Montréal, Quebec) Les Éditions du Boréal
  • Une carte postale de lʼocéan – Stéfani Meunier (Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard, Quebec) Leméac Éditeur


  • À terre ouverte – Sebastián Ibarra Gutiérrez (Québec City, Quebec) Éditions Hamac
  • Atikᵁ utei. Le cœur du caribou – Rita Mestokosho (Ekuanitshit, Quebec) Mémoire dʼencrier
  • Exercices de joie – Louise Dupré (Montréal, Quebec) Le Noroît
  • La fabrique du noir – Virginie Chaloux-Gendron (Québec City, Quebec) Le Noroît
  • Les deuils transparents – Virginie Savard (Montréal, Quebec) Triptyque


  • Akuteu – Soleil Launière (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions du remue-ménage
  • Charlie, du vent derrière le nombril – Martin Bellemare (Montréal, Quebec) Dramaturges Éditeurs
  • Gros gars – Mathieu Gosselin (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions Somme toute
  • Les glaces – Rébecca Déraspe (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions de Ta Mère
  • Mama – Nathalie Doummar (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions du remue-ménage


  • Faux rebelles : Les dérives du politiquement incorrect – Philippe Bernier Arcand (Ottawa, Ontario) Éditions Poètes de brousse
  • Jʼaccuse les tortionnaires dʼOmar Khadr – Frédéric Bérard (Montréal, Quebec) Saint-Jean Éditeur
  • La société de provocation – Dahlia Namian (Montréal, Quebec) Lux Éditeur
  • Mégaptère – Martine Béland (Pointe-de-l’Église, Nova Scotia) Leméac Éditeur
  • Panique à lʼUniversité – Francis Dupuis-Déri (Montréal, Quebec) Lux Éditeur

Young People’s Literature – Text

  • Escarpolette – Sylvie Drapeau (Montréal, Quebec) Dominique et compagnie / Les éditions Héritage
  • Le plancher de la lune – Jean-Christophe Réhel (Repentigny, Quebec) la courte échelle
  • Linoubliable – Lou Beauchesne (Montréal, Quebec) la courte échelle
  • Mélie quelque part au milieu – Mylène Goupil (Blainville, Quebec) Éditions Québec Amérique
  • Zipolaris Tome 3 : La malédiction de Zangra – J.L. Blanchard (Laval, Quebec) Éditions Fides

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

  • Gervais et Conrad – Iris Boudreau (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions Les 400 coups
  • Je t’écris de mon lit – Maude Nepveu-Villeneuve and Agathe Bray-Bourret (Montréal, Quebec – les deux) Éditions Les 400 coups
  • Le Bourlingueur de Matungoua – Boucar Diouf (Longueuil, Quebec) and François Thisdale (Carignan, Quebec) Éditions La Presse
  • Le plus petit sauveur du monde – Samuel Larochelle and Eve Patenaude (Montréal, Quebec – les deux) Éditions XYZ
  • Parfois les lacs brûlent – Geneviève Bigué (Montréal, Quebec) Front Froid

Translation (from English to French)

  • Dans lʼombre du soleil : Réflexions sur la race et les récits – Catherine Ego (Montréal, Quebec) Les Éditions du Boréal. A translation of Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling, by Esi Edugyan.
  • Nʼayons pas peur du ciel – Dominique Fortier (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions Alto. A translation of We Should Not Be Afraid of the Sky, by Emma Hooper.
  • Père fictif – Luba Markovskaia (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions de la Pastèque. A translation of Fictional Father, by Joe Ollmann.
  • soufrelangue – Madeleine Stratford (Ottawa, Ontario) Éditions Prise de parole. A translation of sulphurtongue, by Rebecca Salazar.
  • Tout est bien – Marie Frankland (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions Québec Amérique. A translation of Allʼs Well, by Mona Awad.

Makeup of the 2023 English-language peer assessment committees

Fiction: Carleigh Baker, Neil Bissoondath and Jessica Westhead
Poetry: Mary Dalton, Moez Surani and Gillian Sze
Drama: Aaron Bushkowsky, Tai Amy Grauman and Julie Tamiko Manning
Non-fiction: KatłĮà Lafferty, Lorri Neilsen Glenn and Rinaldo Walcott
Young People’s Literature – Text: Cheryl Foggo, June Hur and Tom Ryan
Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books: Marianne Ferrer, Lee Edward Födi and Mahak Jain
Translation (from French to English): Bilal Hashmi, Melissa Bull and Pablo Strauss

Makeup of the 2023 French-language peer assessment committees

Fiction: Edem Awumey, Danielle Dussault and Tassia Trifiatis-Tezgel
Poetry: Mimi Haddam, Gabriel Osson and Judy Quinn
Drama: Katrine Deniset, Isabelle Hubert and Gabriel Léger-Savard
Non-fiction: Karim Akouche, Martine Jacquot and Julie Kurtness
Young People’s Literature – Text: Cheyda Haramein, Jean-François Sénéchal and Danièle Simpson
Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books: Julien Chung and Andrée Lévesque-Sioui
Translation (from English to French): Rose Després, Benoit Laflamme and Marie-Thé Morin

About the Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to “foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts.”

The Council’s grants, services, initiatives, prizes and payments contribute to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene and support its presence across Canada and abroad. The Council’s investments foster greater engagement in the arts among audiences in Canada and internationally.

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