GG literary winners announced; Ottawa’s Daniel Poliquin wins for translation

The winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 2017 is a Newfoundland writer whose book was hailed as an “act of full-throttle imagination and narrative invention.”

The novel is We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night by Joel Thomas Hynes.

The novel was among 14 awards announced Wednesday morning by the Canada Council for the Arts. Among the winners is Ottawa-based writer/translator Daniel Poliquin for his translation into French of Barbarian Lost: Travels in the New China by Alexandre Trudeau. He last picked up a GG in 2014 for his translation of Thomas King’s The Inconvenient Indian into French.

“The 2017 GGBooks winners reflect the soaring literary ambitions of the writers, translators, illustrators and publishers. They dispense the essential doses of Canadian imagination, fantasy, ideas, dreams and analysis that a growing number of readers are appreciating and celebrating,” said Canada Council CEO, Simon Brault in a media release.

The awards will be formally presented on Nov. 29 by Gov.-Gen. Julie Payette in a ceremony at Rideau Hall.

The Awards were founded in 1936 and carry a value of $450,000. Each winner receives $25,000. The publisher of each winning book receives $3,000. Finalists each receive $1,000.

The winners in English

Fiction: We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night by Joel Thomas Hynes of St. John’s. (HarperCollins).

Poetry: On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood by Richard Harrison of Calgary (Buckrider Books / Wolsak and Wynn Publishers).

Drama: Indian Arm by Hiro Kanagawa of Port Moody, B.C. (Playwrights Canada Press).

Non-fiction: The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State by Graeme Wood, Connecticut, U.S. (Random House).

Young People’s Literature, Text: The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline of Toronto (Dancing Cat Books / Cormorant Books).

Young People’s Literature, Illustrated Books: When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson of Winnipeg and Julie Flett of Vancouver (HighWater Press).

Translation (from French to English): Readopolis by Oana Avasilichioaei of Montreal. (BookThug; translation of Lectodôme by Bertrand Laverdure, Le Quartanier)

French-language winners

Fiction: Le poids de la neige by Christian Guay-Poliquin of St-Armand, Que. (La Peuplade).

Poetry: La main hantée by Louise Dupré of Montreal (Éditions du Noroît)

Drama: Dimanche napalm by Sébastien David of Montreal (Leméac Éditeur).

Non-fiction: Les Yeux tristes de mon camion by Serge Bouchard of Montreal (Les Éditions du Boréal).

Young People’s Literature, Text: L’importance de Mathilde Poisson by Véronique Drouin of Sherbrooke, Que. (Bayard Canada).

Young People’s Literature, Illustrated Books:Azadah by Jacques Goldstyn of Montreal (Les Éditions de la Pastèque).

Translation (from English to French): Un barbare en Chine nouvelle by Daniel Poliquin (Les Éditions du Boréal); translation of Barbarian Lost: Travels in the New China by Alexandre Trudeau (HarperCollins).

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.