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B.C. writers land Governor General’s Literary Awards nominations

Angela Sterritt and Harrison Mooney make non-fiction shortlist for prestigious national book prizes

photo of author Angela Sterritt
Angela Sterritt’s memoir Unbroken has been shortlisted for the 2023 Governor General’s Literary Awards. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

Nine B.C. writers have been chosen as finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGbooks).

The Canada Council for the Arts announced the 2023 finalists for the prestigious awards Oct. 25. The winners will be announced at ggbooks.ca on Nov. 8.

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East Vancouver’s Angela Sterritt with Unbroken and Harrison Mooney with Invisible Boy: A Memoir of Self-Discovery were named finalists in the non-fiction category.

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Sterritt’s book uses her personal story as an anchor for the larger story of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG ) in Canada.

“I am absolutely thrilled for this nomination. It means further amplification of the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in this country, and a hope for change,” said Sterritt in an email to Postmedia. “I never anticipated for there to be this vast interest in Unbroken, but I am heartened to see it.  It is incredibly validating for me and the family members of MMIWG.”

Photo of book cover for Unbroken by Angela Sterritt
Unbroken by Angela Sterritt Photo by Courtesy of Greystone Books /jpg

Mooney jokingly tried to play it cool when asked about the Governor General’s Literary Awards nomination.

“I know authors are supposed to act like they aren’t desperate for awards and recognition, but let’s be real. This is precisely the type of validation I crave,” said Mooney who is a former Vancouver Sun reporter. “What a wonderful surprise.”

Invisible Boy is Mooney’s memoir about growing up a Black kid in a white, religious household in Abbotsford.

“I was terrified to write this story. I worried about what people might say, what my adoptive family would do, whether or not it would be worth it to put myself through the emotional ringer. Turns out it was,” said Mooney in an email to Postmedia.

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Photo of Harrison Mooney
East Vancouver writer Harrison Mooney’s memoir Invisible Boy: A Memoir of Self-Discovery is one of 70 titles over 14 categories to have been shortlisted for 2023 Governor General’s Literary Awards. The winners will be announced on Nov. 8. Photo by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

In the poetry category B.C. is represented by Exculpatory Lilies by Susan Musgrave of Masset and The Ridge from Heriot Bay’s Robert Bringhurst.

Port Moody actor/writer Hiro Kanagawa was chosen in the drama category for his play Forgiveness.

Fire on Headless Mountain by Gabriola Island’s Iain Lawrence and Weird Rules to Follow from Vancouver’s Kim Spencer earned nominations in the young people’s literature text category while Vancouver artist Nancy Vo’s Boobies and Still This Love Goes On from Victoria’s Julie Flett earned nominations in the young people’s literature illustrated book category.

Founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Awards celebrate works published in Canada, in both official languages, across seven categories. Seventy books published in Canada in 2023 were named as this year’s finalists. Each writer, translator, or illustrator whose book is selected as winner in its category receives a $25,000 prize. Publishers receive $3,000 to promote the winning book; finalists receive $1,000 each.

Related Stories

  1. Angela Sterritt’s new book Unbroken combines autobiography and investigative journalism as it focuses on the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

    Angela Sterritt mixes memoir and journalism in Unbroken

  2. Cut from his mother: Invisible Boy tells the story of a Black boy growing up in a white B.C. household

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Governor General’s Literary Awards English-language Finalists for 2023

Poetry

Drama

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Non-fiction

Young People’s Literature – Text

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

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Translation (from French to English)

  • Alone: The Journeys of Three Young Refugees – Arielle Aaronson (Montréal, Quebec) Groundwood Books Ltd. A translation of Seuls, by Paul Tom.
  • House Within a House – D.M. Bradford (Verdun, Quebec) Brick Books. A translation of Désormais, ma demeure, by Nicholas Dawson.
  • Kukum – Susan Ouriou (Calgary, Alberta) Arachnide, House of Anansi Press Inc. A translation of Kukum, by Michel Jean.
  • Okinum –  Émilie Monnet (Chelsea, Quebec) Scirocco Drama, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing. A translation of Okinum, by Émilie Monnet.
  • Rosaʼs Very Own Personal Revolution – Peter McCambridge (Québec City, Quebec) QC Fiction, Baraka Books. A translation of La logeuse, by Éric Dupont

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Governor General’s Literary Awards French-language Finalists for 2023

Fiction

Poetry

Drama

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Non-fiction

Young People’s Literature – Text

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

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Translation (from English to French)

  • Dans lʼombre du soleil : Réflexions sur la race et les récits – Catherine Ego (Montréal, Québec) Les Éditions du Boréal. A translation of Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling, by Esi Edugyan.
  • Nʼayons pas peur du ciel – Dominique Fortier (Montréal, Québec) Éditions Alto. A translation of We Should Not Be Afraid of the Sky, by Emma Hooper.
  • Père fictif – Luba Markovskaia (Montréal, Quebec) Éditions de la Pastèque. A translation of Fictional Father, by Joe Ollmann.
  • soufrelangue – Madeleine Stratford (Ottawa, Ontario) Éditions Prise de parole. A translation of sulphurtongue, by Rebecca Salazar.
  • Tout est bien – Marie Frankland (Montréal, Québec) Éditions Québec Amérique. A translation of Allʼs Well, by Mona Awad.

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