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Few surprises at GG Literary awards shortlist announcement

This Magazine Staff

Governor General's Literary Awards finalists announcement, at Ben McNally Books, on October 21, 2008This morning the Canada Council for the Arts threw a little party to announce the finalists for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards finalists. The literati and assorted hangers-on crowded into Ben McNally Books on Bay Street in Toronto to hear the announcement, and I stopped by to see the festivities (I think I qualify as a hanger-on at best).
Seventy finalists announced in all, and you can see the full list of English and French finalists on the Canada Council website. The big categories, that everyone was clearly there to see, were the English-language Fiction and Non-fiction finalists. They are:

  • Rivka Galchen for “Atmospheric Disturbances”
  • Rawi Hage for “Cockroach”
  • Nino Ricci for “The Origin of Species”
  • David Adams Richards for “The Lost Highway”
  • Fred Stenson for “The Great Karoo”


  • Christie Blatchford for “Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army”
  • Douglas Hunter for “God’s Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal and the Dream of Discovery”
  • Sid Marty for “The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek”
  • James Orbinski for “An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century”
  • Chris Turner for “The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need”

So as you can see, plenty of familiar names. Judging from the buzz in the room, it didn’t seem like there were too many surprises on the list, although an approving murmur went around the room at the mention of James Orbinski’s name.
So that’s that: 70 new books to add to your reading list (don’t worry, about half of them are children’s books so they’ll be quick reads). The winners will be announced on November 18.
Governor General's Literary Awards finalists announcement, fiction finalists

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