Governor General's Literary Awards, (1936 - )

Biography: 

Governor General Lord Tweedsmuir of Elsfield (John Buchan, author of The Thirty-Nine Steps), the representative of the British monarch in Canada, established the annual Governor General's Literary Awards in 1936 for the best books of the year. These are the most prestigious such awards in Canada. "Poetry or Drama" was a category from 1937 to 1980, after which it became "Poetry." When the Canada Council took over administration of the awards from the Canadian Authors Association in 1959, parallel categories in French were introduced. No book received a Poetry award in 1963. Leonard Cohen declined the award in 1968. Until 1951, the award lacked a monetary value, but by 2007 every winning poet received $25,000, and the winning publisher $3,000. Non-winning finalists are listed by the Canada Council from 1979 on, each receive $1,000. Beginning in 1973, master book-binder Pierre Ouvrard (from 2005, Lise Dubois) presented winners with a specially-bound copy of their book during the prize ceremony at Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor General in Canada's capital, Ottawa.

The winners for books of poetry from 1937 follow:

 

  • Acorn, Milton (1923-86), The Island Means Minago (Toronto: NC Press, 1975). Awarded in 1975.

     

  • Atwood, Margaret (1939-), The Circle Game (Toronto: Contact Press, 1966). Awarded in 1966.

     

  • Avison, Margaret (1918-2007), No Time (Hantsport, NS: Lancelot Press, 1989). Awarded in 1990.

     

  • --, Winter Sun (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960). Awarded in 1960.

     

  • Birney, Earle (1904-95), David and Other Poems (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1942). Awarded in 1942.

     

  • --, Now is Time (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1945). Awarded in 1945.

     

  • Blodgett, E.D. (1935-), Apostrophes: Woman at a Piano (Ottawa: Buschek Books, 1996). Awarded in 1996.

     

  • Bolster, Stephanie (1969-), White Stone: The Alice Poems (Montréal: Signal Editions / Véhicule Press, 1998). Awarded in 1998.

     

  • Borson, Roo (1952-), Short Journey Upriver Toward Oishida (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2004). Awarded in 2004.

     

  • Bourinot, Arthur S. (1893-1969), Under the Sun: Poems (Toronto: Macmillan, 1939). Awarded in 1939.

     

  • Bowering, George (1935-), The Gangs of Kosmos (Toronto: House of Anasi, 1968). Awarded in 1969.

     

  • --, Rocky Mountain Foot; a lyric, a memoir (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1968). Awarded in 1969.

     

  • bpNichol (1944-88), Beach Head (Sacramento, CA: Runcible Spoon Press, 1970). Awarded in 1970.

     

  • --, The Cosmic Chef: An Evening of Concrete (Ottawa: Oberon Press, 1970). Awarded in 1970.

     

  • --, Still Water (Vancouver: Talonbooks, 1970). Awarded in 1970.

     

  • --, The True Eventual Story of Billy The Kid (Toronto: Weed/Flower Press, 1970). Awarded in 1970.

     

  • Brand, Dionne (1953-), Land to Light On (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1997). Awarded in 1997.

     

  • Bruce, Charles (1906-71), The Mulgrave Road (Toronto: Macmillan, 1951). Awarded in 1951.

     

  • Clarke, George Elliott (1960-), Execution Poems (Wolfville, NS: Gaspereau Press, 2001). Awarded in 2001.

     

  • Cohen, Leonard (1934-), Selected Poems 1956-1968 (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1968). Awarded in 1968 but declined by the recipient.

     

  • Coles, Don (1928-), Forests of the Medieval World (Erin, ON: Porcupine's Quill, 1993). Awarded in 1993.

     

  • Compton, Anne (1947-), Processional (Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2005). Awarded in 2005.

     

  • Crozier, Lorna (1948), Inventing the Hawk (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1992). Awarded in 1992.

     

  • Domanski, Don (1950-), All Our Wonder Unavenged (London, ON: Brick Books, 2007). Awarded in 2007.

     

  • Donnell, David (1939-), Settlements (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1983). Awarded in 1983.

     

  • Finch, Robert (1900-95), Acis in Oxford (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1961). Awarded in 1961.

     

  • --, Poems (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1946). Awarded in 1946.

     

  • Ford (1915-98), Robert A.D., A Window on the North (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1956). Awarded in 1956.

     

  • Glassco, John (1909-81), Selected Poems (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1971). Awarded in 1971.

     

  • Greene, Richard (1961-), Boxing the Compass (Montreal: Signal Poetry, 2009). Awarded in 2010.

     

  • Gustafson, Ralph (1909-95), Fire on Stone (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974). Awarded in 1974.

     

  • Hilles, Robert (1951-), Cantos from a Small Room (Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn, 1993). Awarded in 1994.

     

  • Jiles, Paulette (1943-), Celestial Navigation (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1984). Awarded in 1984.

     

  • Jones, D.G. (1929-), Under the Thunder the Flowers Light up the Earth (Toronto: Coach House Press, 1977). Awarded in 1977.

     

  • Klein, A.M. (1909-72), The Rocking Chair and Other Poems (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1966). Awarded in 1948.

     

  • Lane, Patrick (1939-), Poems New and Selected (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1978). Awarded in 1978.

     

  • Layton, Irving (1912-2006), A Red Carpet for the Sun (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1959). Awarded in 1959.

     

  • Lee, Dennis (1939-), Civil Elegies and Other Poems (Toronto: House of Anansi, 1968). Awarded in 1972.

     

  • LePan, Douglas (1914-98), The Net and the Sword (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1953). Awarded in 1953.

     

  • Leslie, Kenneth (1892-1974), By Stubborn Stars (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1938). Awarded in 1938.

     

  • Lilburn, Tim (1950-), Kill-site (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2003). Awarded in 2003.

     

  • Livesay, Dorothy (1909-96), Day and Night: Poems (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1944). Awarded in 1944.

     

  • --, Poems for People (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1947). Awarded in 1947.

     

  • MacEwen, Gwendolyn (1941-87), Afterworlds (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987). Awarded in 1987.

     

  • --, The Shadow-Maker (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1969). Awarded in 1969.

     

  • Macpherson, Jay (1931), The Boatman (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1957). Awarded in 1957.

     

  • Mandel, Eli (1922-92), An Idiot Joy (Edmonton: M.G. Hurtig, 1967). Awarded in 1967.

     

  • Mandel, Miriam (1930-82), Lions at her Face (Edmonton, AB: White Pelican, 1973). Awarded in 1973.

     

  • Marriott, Anne (1913-97), Calling Adventurers (Toronto : Ryerson Press, 1941). Awarded in 1941.

     

  • McKay, Don (1942-), Another Gravity (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2000). Awarded in 2000.

     

  • --, Night Field (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1991). Awarded in 1991.

     

  • Miki, Roy (1942-) Surrender (Toronto: Mercury Press, 2001). Awarded in 2002.

     

  • Mouré, Erin (1955-), Furious (Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 1988). Awarded in 1988.

     

  • Newlove, John (1938-2003), Lies (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1972). Awarded in 1972.

     

  • Nowlan, Alden (1933-), Bread, Wine and Salt (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin, 1967). Awarded in 1967.

     

  • Ondaatje, Michael (1943-), The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (Toronto: House of Anansi, 1970). Awarded in 1970.

     

  • --, There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979). Awarded in 1979.

     

  • Page, P.K. (1916-2010), The Metal and the Flower (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1954).

     

  • Pass, John (1947-), Stumbling in the Bloom (Lantzville, BC: Oolichan Books, 2005). Awarded in 2006.

     

  • Pratt, E.J. (1882-1964), Brébeuf and His Brethren (Toronto: Macmillan Co., 1940). Awarded in 1940.

     

  • --, The Fable of the Goats, and Other Poems (Toronto: Macmillan, 1937). Awarded in 1937.

     

  • --, Towards the Last Spike (Toronto: Macmillan, 1952). Awarded in 1952.

     

  • Purdy, Alfred (1918-2000), The Cariboo Horses (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1965). Awarded in 1965.

     

  • --, The Collected Poems of Al Purdy (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986). Awarded in 1986.

     

  • Reaney, James (1926-2008), The Red Heart (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1949). Awarded in 1949.

     

  • --, A Suit of Nettles (Toronto: Macmillan, 1958). Awarded in 1958.

     

  • --, Twelve Letters to a Small Town (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1962). Awarded in 1962.

     

  • Rosenblatt, Joe (1933-), Top Soil (Erin, ON: Press Porcépic, 1976). Awarded in 1976.

     

  • Scheier, Jacob (1980-), More to Keep us Warm (Toronto: ECW Press, 2007). Awarded in 2008.

     

  • Scobie, Stephen (1943-), McAlmon's Chinese Opera (Dunvegan, ON: Quadrant Éditions, 1980). Awarded in 1980.

     

  • Scott, F.R. (1899-1985), The Collected Poems of F.R. Scott (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1981). Awarded in 1981.

     

  • Smith, A.J.M. (1902-80), News of the Phoenix (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1943). Awarded in 1943.

     

  • Souster, Raymond (1921-), The Colour of the Times: the Collected Poems of Raymond Souster. (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1964). Awarded in 1964.

     

  • Spears, Heather (1934-), The Word for Sand (Toronto: Wolsak and Wynn, 1988). Awarded in 1989.

     

  • Szumigalski, Anne (1922-99), Voice (Regina, SK: Coteau Books / Mendel Art Gallery, 1995). Awarded in 1995.

     

  • Wah, Fred (1939-), Waiting for Saskatchewan (Winnipeg: Turnstone Press, 1985). Awarded in 1985.

     

  • Watson, James Wreford (1915-90), Of Time and the Lover (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1950). Awarded in 1950.

     

  • Watson, Wilfred (1911-98), Friday's Child (London, Faber and Faber, 1955). Awarded in 1955.

     

  • Webb, Phyllis (1927-), Selected Poems: The Vision Tree (Vancouver, BC: Talonbooks, 1982). Awarded in 1982.

     

  • Zieroth, David (1946-), The Fly in Autumn (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour, 2009). Awarded in 2009.

     

  • Zwicky, Jan (1955-), Songs for Relinquishing the Earth (London, ON: Brick Books, 1998). Awarded in 1999.
Family Name: 
Governor General's Literary Awards
Birth Date: 
1936
Death Date: 
0
Nationality: 
Literary Period: 
Literary Movement: 
First RPO Edition: 
2012