Finalists Announced for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards

General's Literary Awards

Photo: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

The Canada Council for the Arts announced the finalists for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards this morning, with novelists Miriam Toews and Rawi Hage, along with Peter McCambridge, who translated the Giller shortlisted Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont, leading the pack of 70 nominees.

Toews, a Manitoba native and two time Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize winner as well as a two-time Giller Prize finalist, received a nomination for her novel Women Talking, an exploration of the secret interactions of a community of Mennonite women following a devastating and brutal attack that’s based on a true story. The 54-year-old squares off in the English language fiction category against the Writer’s Trust-shortlisted and Giller-longlisted Beirut Hellfire Society, by Lebanese-Canadian scribe Rawi Hage, also 54, which follows the son of an undertaker who becomes involved in a mysterious underground group his father took part in amidst the ravages of war-torn Beirut. Meanwhile, literary translator Peter McCambridge is in the running for his French to English translation of Eric Dupont’s Songs for the Cold of Heart, a familial epic that begins in Quebec and spans continents and generations that, just yesterday, was revealed as a Giller Prize shortlisted title.

Now in its 82nd year, Governor General’s Literary Awards bestows a total amount of $450,000 in prize money to the winners in each of the various categories and their publishing houses, while all non-winners receive $1,000. The announcement of the winners takes place on Oct. 30, with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada formally presenting the awards at Ottawa’s Rideau Hall on Nov. 28. See below for the full list of 2018 Governor General’s Literary Awards nominees, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, or click here to visit the official website.



Beirut Hellfire Society, by Rawi Hage

Jonny Appleseed, by Joshua Whitehead

The Red Word, by Sarah Henstra

Women Talking, by Miriam Toews

Zolitude, by Paige Cooper


Because: A Lyric Memoir, by Joshua Mensch

Night Became Years, by Jason Stefanik
The Blue Clerk, by Dionne Brand

This Wound is a World, by Billy-Ray Belcourt

Wayside Sang, by Cecily Nicholson


Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom, by Jordan Tannahill

Gertrude and Alice, by Anna Chatterton and Evalyn Parry with Karin Randoja

Paradise Lost, by Erin Shields

The Men in White, by Anosh Irani

This Is How We Got Here, by Keith Barker


Dead Reckoning: How I Came to Meet the Man Who Murdered My Father, by Carys Cragg

Heart Berries, by Terese Marie

Homes: A Refugee Story, by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung

Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age, by Darrel J. McLeod

The Wife’s Tale: A Personal History, by Aida Edemariam

Young People’s Literature – Text

Ebb & Flow, by Heather Smith

Learning to Breathe, by Janice Lynn Mather

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster, by Jonathan Auxier

The Journey of Little Charlie, by Christopher Paul Curtis

Winnie’s Great War, by Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

Africville, by Shauntay Grant and Eva Campbell

At the Pond, by Werner Zimmermann

Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes, by Wab Kinew and Joe Morse

Ocean Meets Sky, by The Fan Brothers

They Say Blue, by Jillian Tamaki

Translation (from French to English)

Descent into Night, translated by Phyllis Aronoff and Howard Scott; translation of Explication de la nuit by Edem Awumey

Explosions: Michael Bay and the Pyrotechnics of the Imagination, translated by Aleshia Jensen; translation of Des explosions, by Mathieu Poulin

Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu, translated by Vivian Felsen; translation of Jacob-Isaac Segal (1896-1954): un poète yiddish de Montréal et son milieu, by Pierre Anctil

Little Beast, translated by Rhonda Mullins; translation of Barbe, by Julie Demers

Songs for the Cold of Heart, translated by Peter McCambridge; translation of La fiancée américaine by Eric Dupont



De synthèse, by Karoline Georges

La bête creuse, by Christophe Bernard

Les noyades secondaires, by Maxime Raymond Bock

Manikanetish, by Naomi Fontaine

noms fictifs, by Olivier Sylvestre


Cruauté du jeu, by France Théoret

La dévoration des fees, by Catherine Lalonde

La raison des fleurs, by Michaël Trahan

Le revers, by Roxane Desjardins

Ne faites pas honte à votre siècle, by Daria Colonna


Enfant insignifiant!, by Michel Tremblay

Invisibles, by Guillaume Lapierre-Desnoyers

J’aime Hydro, by Christine Beaulieu

Os: la montagne blanche, by Steve Gagnon

Venir au monde, by Anne-Marie Olivier


Avant l’après: voyages à Cuba avec George Orwell, by Frédérick Lavoie

Histoire des Juifs du Québec, by Pierre Anctil

Le piège de la liberté: les peuples autochtones dans l’engrenage des régimes coloniaux, by Denys Delâge and Jean-Philippe Warren

Les chants du mime: en compagnie d’Étienne Decroux, by Gabrielle Giasson-Dulude

Mégantic: une tragédie annoncée, by Anne-Marie Saint-Cerny

Young People’s Literature – Text

13000ans et des poussières, by Camille Bouchard

Ferdinand F., 81 ans, chenille, by Mario Brassard

Les Marées, by Brigitte Vaillancourt

Maman veut partir, by Jonathan Bécotte

Un dernier songe avant le grand sommeil, by Jocelyn Boisvert

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

Jules et Jim: frères d’armes, by Jacques Goldstyn

Le chemin de la montagne, by Marianne Dubuc

Les mots d’Eunice, by Gabriella Gendreau and Nahid Kazemi

Lili Macaroni: je suis comme je suis!, by Nicole Testa and Annie Boulanger

Une histoire de cancer qui finit bien, by Marianne Ferrer and India Desjardins

Translation (from English to French)

De l’utilité de l’ennui: textes de balle, translated by Daniel Grenier and William S. Messier; translation of The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays by Andrew Forbes

Le Monde selon Barney, translated by Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné; translation of Barney’s Version by Mordecai Richler

Le saint patron des merveilles, translated by Catherine Leroux; translation of Fabrizio’s Return by Mark Frutkin

Naissances, translated by Laurence Gough; translation of How You Were Born by Kate Cayley

Sweetland, translated by Éric Fontaine; translation of Sweetland by Michael Crummey