Top Shelf: Ep. 7: The Year in Awards

Literary awards are not everything, and they are almost always contentious, but all the same, they add a swirl of energy to the year in books. Here's a handy round up of the Canadian finalists for some of the major awards in 2013.


The Giller Prize: Lynn Coady won for Hellgoing. Finalists included Dennis Bock for Going Home Again, Craig Davidson for Cataract City, Lisa Moore for Caught, and Dan Vyleta for The Crooked Maid.

north end love songs

The Governor General's Awards: In fiction, Eleanor Catton won for The Luminaries, while finalists included Kenneth Bonert's The Lion Seeker, Joseph Boyden's The Orenda, Colin McAdam's A Beautiful Truth, and Shyam Selvadurai's The Hungry Ghosts. The poetry winner was Katherena Vermett's North End Love Songs; finalists were Austin Clarke's Where the Sun Shines Best, Adam Dickinson's The Polymers, Don Domanski's Bite Down Little Whisper, and Russell Thornton's Birds, Metal, Stones & Rain.

The Governor General's non-fiction winner was Sandra Djwa's Journey With No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page, among a field including Carolyn Abraham's The Juggler's Children, Nina Munk's The Idealist, Allen Smutlyo's The Memory of Water, and Priscila Uppal's Projection.

For children's books, there was a winner for text (Teresa Toten's The Unlikely Hero of Room 13 B) and for illustration (Matt James for Northwest Passage). Please see our list for the children's finalists.

The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction went to Graeme Smith for The Dogs Are Eating Them Now; finalists included J.B. McKinnon's The Once and Future World, Priscila Uppal's Projection, Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian and Andrew Steinmetz's This Great Escape.

The Rogers' Writers Trust Fiction Prize went to Colin McAdam's A Beautiful Truth (finalists included Krista Bridge's The Eliot Girls, Lynn Coady's Hellgoing, Cary Fagan's A Bird's Eye, and Lisa Moore's Caught). The Writers' Trust website has a full list of all the awards they presented in 2013, including for kids' literature, emerging writers, and distinguished careers.

There were also (click on links for finalists), among others:

The ReLit Awards (small press—multiple winners)

The International IMPAC Dublin Awards (international picks chosen by librarians)

The Sunburst Awards (fantasy—2013 winner was Rachel Hartman's Seraphina)

The CCBC Awards (children's lit—multiple winners)

The Griffin Poetry Prize (poetry)

The Frank O'Connor Award (international short story award, with multiple Canadian finalists)

The Arthur Ellis Awards (mystery/crime—multiple winners)

The Stephen Leacock Memorial Award (humour—2013 winner was Dance, Gladys, Dance, by Cassie Stocks)

The RBC Taylor Award (non-fiction—winner yet to be announced)

The BC National Award for Non-Fiction (winner yet to be announced)

To expand your consideration set beyond these fine award finalists, may we also suggest:

And, c'mon, we gotta say it: Yay Alice!

January 28, 2014
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