Marina Endicott EdmontonOn October 11, 2011, The Canada Council for the Arts announced the 68 finalists for the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Awards. The GGs, Canada’s national book awards celebrate the excellence of Canadian writers, illustrators and translators. The English and French awards are in the categories of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation.   Territory, identity and winter are recurrent themes in the books chosen by the Canada Council’s juries who selected the GG shortlist after reading, between them, a total of 1,684 eligible books submitted for this year’s awards.  

The GGs always generate excitement,” said Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts. “The Canada Council has administered these awards for more than five decades, and the shortlisted and winning books have had tremendous influence not just in Canada but around the world.

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Governor General’s Literary Awards by displaying your favourite GG books with the new Canada Council Facebook application “My GG Top Reads.” Information on how to participate and a complete list of GG-winning books can be found on the Canada Council website.

The Canada Council’s national partner, Indigo Books & Music, is offering the chance to win a trip to Ottawa to attend the Governor General’s Literary Awards ceremony, at Rideau Hall. Details of the contest can be found on Indigo Books & Music’s website. Our national partner CBC/Radio-Canada invites book lovers to participate in a radio and online quiz to win GG books or a Sony e-Reader on CBC Books and on Radio-Canada’s Zone d’écriture.

The names of the 2011 finalists from Alberta and the titles of their books are listed below:


Marina Endicott, Edmonton (Alberta), The Little Shadows
(Doubleday Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-385-66891-0 )


Vern Thiessen, Astoria (New York) and Winnipeg (Manitoba) [and formerly Playwright in Residence at the Citadel Theatre], Lenin’s Embalmers (Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press
(ISBN 978-0-88754-970-0)


Andrew Nikiforuk , Calgary (Alberta), Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests (Greystone Books, an imprint of D&M Publishers / David Suzuki Foundation; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-1-55365-510-7)

Children’s Literature — Illustration

Isabelle Arsenault, Montreal, Migrant, text by Maxine Trottier (Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada ) (ISBN 978-0-88899-975-7)

Renata Liwska, Calgary (Alberta), Red Wagon, text by Renata Liwska  (Philomel Books, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; distributed by Penguin Group Canada) (ISBN 978-0-399-25237-2)

The finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards are chosen by jurys of peers (seven English and seven French categories) appointed by the Canada Council. The jurys, which meet separately, consider all eligible books published between September 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011 for English-language books and between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011 for French-language books. This year, 1002 titles in the English-language categories and 682 titles in the French-language categories were submitted.

About the Governor General’s Literary Awards

The Canada Council for the Arts funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards.  Each winner will receive $25,000 and a specially-bound copy of the winning book. The publisher of each winning book will receive $3,000 to support promotional activities. Non-winning finalists each receive $1,000 in recognition of their selection as finalists, bringing the total value of the awards to approximately $450,000.

The winners will be announced Tuesday, November 15 at 10 am at the Enwave Theatre at Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay West, in Toronto.

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2011 GG Literary Awards on Thursday, November 24, at 6 p.m. at Rideau Hall. Media representatives wishing to cover the awards presentation should contact Christelle Legault at the Rideau Hall Press Office, (613) 998-7280 or