The Canada Council for the Arts administers the Governor General literary award. The award provides “not only a chance to honour our very best books, but it is also a chance to pay tribute to Canadians who are rising stars in the world of literature,” Gov. Gen. David Johnson said in a statement. “I congratulate all the winners who have worked hard to add their tale to our collective memories.”
Each category winner receives $25,000. Publishers of the winning books also receive $3,000.
The English winners are:
- Fiction: Linda Spalding for her book The Purchase, a historical tale looking back at the lives of slaves and slave owners that was inspired by stories from her ancestors, who were Quakers. The jury praised Spalding’s writing as “warm, dignified prose” in its citation. “An historical novel about race, religion and family, Linda Spalding’s The Purchase is refreshingly free of retrospective judgment.”
- Non-Fiction: Ross King for his book Leonardo and the Last Supper, an examination of the artist’s great fresco and the powerful man who commissioned it. With “a combination of brilliant storytelling and superlative writing,” U.K.-based, Saskatchewan-raised King “portrays the towering genius of Leonardo in a way that will engage experts and delight a general audience,” the jury said.
The French winners are:
- Fiction: Pour sur, France Daigle (Moncton, N.B.).
- Non-fiction: Comment tuer Shakespeare, Normand Chaurette (Montreal).
“The winning titles offer a wealth of reading options for Canadians of all ages and demonstrate once again that Canada punches above its weight in the literary arena,” said Canada Council director Robert Sirman.