Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thoughts on Governor General Award winners for 2012

Linda Spalding: her GG fiction prize wasn't a shock because she is a great writer (though mainly for non-fiction), but I haven't read her novel, The Purchase. Her speech was lovely and she talked about coming to Canada in 1982 with an unpublished novel in her suitcase and feeling valued as a writer and artist, tapping into a vibrant and amazing community of artists and writers in the Toronto area.

I also haven't read Ross King's book Leonardo and the Last Supper though I've heard it buzzed about here and there. Definitely going to check that one out.

I was really happy that Nigel Spencer won for his translation of Marie-Claire Blais's book Mai at the Predator's Ball. Blais continues to do amazing, innovative and hard-to-categorize work though she's in her mid 70s at this point. I had forgotten that he'd translated this work. He's won twice before for translation for translating Marie-Claire Blais. For anyone who's not read Blais or who wants to start with an excellent Quebecois francophone writer, she's where it's at. Blais and Dany Laferrière are the two best-known names (after Michel Tremblay, of course) on the international scene from Quebec.

I was surprised that France Daigle won for Pour sûr. It's a great book (and she was in attendance at Blue Met 2012 for this book) but Catherine Mavrikakis got a great deal of buzz for her book Les derniers jours de Smokey Nelson and was short-listed for a couple of prizes for it. So it surprised me. Then again, it is nice to see a non-Quebecker win for a francophone novel (Daigle is from New Brunswick).

At any rate, when I got back to the office, two publishers had already emailed or faxed me proposals for the next festival with their just-crowned GG 2012 winners.

So many books! I feel like I am reading constantly but even so, I can't possibly keep up with everything I should read. Now off: I should spend an hour reading (Eric Dupont's La Fiancée américaine) and I should get myself to the office at some point today, too!

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