Finalists for the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Awards Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Ottawa (October 2, 2013) – The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the list of finalists for the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Awards. The GGs are awarded in both official languages, in seven categories: fiction, poetry, drama, non-fiction, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation. The finalists in the children’s literature categories are listed below.

“Get ready for late nights!” said Robert Sirman, Director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts. “Great books abound among this year’s GG finalists and you won’t be able to put them down. Further proof of the prolific and potent Canadian literary scene.”

Downloadable images of the shortlisted books and additional information are available on the Canada Council’s website. Follow the conversation on Twitter through @CanadaCouncil and by using the hashtag #GGbooks. Like the Canada Council’s Facebook page for all the latest updates.

The finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards are chosen by peer assessment committees appointed by the Canada Council. The committees consider all eligible books published between September 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013 for English-language books and between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013 for French-language books. This year, 979 titles in the English-language categories and 624 titles in the French-language categories were submitted.

Children’s Literature — English-language Text

The White BicycleThe White Bicycle
Written by Beverley Brenna (Saskatoon)
Red Deer Press
In this third book in the Wild Orchid series about a young woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, Taylor Jane travels to the south of France to spend the summer babysitting. The White Bicycle is an intimate journey for independence, both personal and universal, told in Taylor’s honest first-person prose. Ages 13+

Becoming HolmesBecoming Holmes
(The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case)
Written by Shane Peacock (Baltimore, Ont.)
Tundra Books
This final book in Shane Peacock’s award-winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series combines brilliant storytelling with fascinating historical detail, including famous people, popular myths and street-level views of London. A surprising and shocking conclusion to a mystery worthy of one of the greatest sleuths in English literature. Ages 10+

Once Upon a Northern NightOnce Upon a Northern Night
Written by Jean E. Pendziwol (Thunder Bay, Ont.)
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Groundwood Books
As a child slumbers, the beauty and wonder of a northern winter night unfolds. This exquisite lullaby evokes images of a soft snowfall, wild animals that appear in the garden, twinkling stars, the gentle rhythm of the northern lights and the etchings of frost on the window pane. Ages 4-7

Counting Back From NineCounting Back From Nine
Written by Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, NB)
Fitzhenry & Whiteside
“There are rules for what I’ve done. Specific punishments for crimes against friendship.” Laren Olivier knows the rules, but her attraction to a friend’s ex-boyfriend is strong. She tells herself that if only they can keep their romance a secret, no one will get hurt. But Laren is not the only one with something to hide. Ages 14+

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13BThe Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
Written by Teresa Toten (Toronto)
Doubleday Canada
When Adam meets Robyn at a support group for kids with obsessive-compulsive disorder, he is immediately drawn to her. But how can you have a “normal” relationship when your life is anything but normal? And what about those threatening letters Adam’s mother has started to receive…? Tough and topical issues are covered in this traditional whodunit. Ages 14+

JURY: Deirdre F. Kessler (Charlottetown), Mahtab Narsimhan (Toronto), Arthur Slade (Saskatoon)

Children’s Literature — English-language Illustration

Miss Mousie’s Blind DateMiss Mousie’s Blind Date
Illustrated by Rachel Berman (Toronto)
Written by Tim Beiser (Toronto)
Tundra Books
A story about self-acceptance, and love lost and found, told through the eyes of a little mouse, and her possibly-not-so-handsome suitor, Mole. Charmingly illustrated, cleverly told, the message is timeless, and the illustrations endearing. Ages 3-7

Oy, Feh, So?Oy, Feh, So?
Illustrated by Gary Clement (Toronto)
Written by Cary Fagan (Toronto)
Groundwood Books
In this hilariously written and illustrated story, three children turn their family’s weekly Sunday visit from Aunt Essy, Aunt Chanah and Uncle Sam on its head. And in the end, they all have a ball. Ages 4-8

Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage
Illustrated by Matt James (Toronto)
Written by Stan Rogers)
Groundwood Books
Stunning India ink and acrylic illustrations convey the search for the elusive route through the Arctic Ocean to the Pacific that has fascinated explorers for centuries. Told through the lyrics of the iconic song by Canadian singer/songwriter Stan Rogers. Ages 6+

The DarkThe Dark
Illustrated by Jon Klassen (Los Angeles)
Written by Lemony Snicket
HarperCollins Publishers
“Laszlo was afraid of the dark. The dark lived in the basement. Laszlo hoped the dark wouldn’t come to his room. But one day it did.” The dark comes to life in this unique twist on a universal childhood fear by a bestselling author and illustrator. Ages 3-6

How ToHow To
Illustrated and written by Julie Morstad (Vancouver)
Somply Read Books
This imaginative ‘how to’ book uses spare text and whimsical fine-line drawings to explore a host of different tasks, including ‘how to wonder,’ ‘how to see the breeze,’ and ‘how to be brave.’ Ages 4-8

JURY: Kady MacDonald Denton (Peterborough, Ont.), Maritza Miari (Dartmouth, NS), Scot Ritchie (Vancouver)

Children’s Literature – French-language Text

D’or et de poussièreD’or et de poussière
Written by Camille Bouchard (Quebec)
Éditions Hurtubise
In the 16th century, the last conquistadors were convinced that there was a fabulous kingdom in the north of Mexico: Cíbola. Guided by a black slave, Brother Marcos de Niza was sent off to see whether this was really true. On his return, he affirmed that he had seen magnificent cities! A major expedition sets out to conquer the seven cities of gold. This is the breathtaking tale of an improbable adventure. Ages 14+

Jane, le renard & moiJane, le renard & moi
Written by Fanny Britt (Montreal)
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal)
Les éditions de la Pastèque
Hélène is a victim of harassment and bullying at her school. She takes refuge in the world of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë’s first novel. When you think you’re fat and ugly, that the whole world is against you, and that the only thing left to you is literature, the friendship of another lonely soul can be a lifesaver. This graphic novel looks at the cruelty that children can inflict upon each other. Ages 11+

Gladys et VovaGladys et Vova
Written by Emmanuelle Caron (Montreal)
L’école des loisirs
Gladys and Vova are twins, dissimilar and inseparable. Orphaned at an early age, the two little Russians are buffeted from institution to adoptive family. From the destitute orphanage to the ultra-rich Baldessari family that adopts them and brings them to Paris, they are underloved or overindulged by adults who consider them playthings. Buoyed by their love of theatre, they will try to escape their destiny as puppets and discover their family of the heart. Ages 12-16

Le monde fabuleux de Monsieur FredLe monde fabuleux de Monsieur Fred
Written by Lili Chartrand (Montreal)
Illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
Dominique et compagnie
Pierrot is a grown-up now, but he has never forgotten Monsieur Fred, his first real friend. Every day, Monsieur Fred would sit in the park and read his invisible story book. Pierrot would join him and listen to the wonderful tales he told. One day, illness took Monsieur Fred away. Before he died, he had wrapped up his story book (the real one!) for Pierrot. Perhaps one day Pierrot too will know all of the stories by heart. Ages 3+

À l’ombre de la grande maisonÀ l’ombre de la grande maison
Written by Geneviève Mativat (Laval)
Les éditions Pierre Tisseyre
Dany is the daughter of a slave, and thus a slave herself. She works on a cotton plantation in Missouri, and is mistreated and humiliated, as are all the slaves. In 1860, when the slaves on the plantation are freed, Dany does not hesitate to sign up to fight in the war against slavery. Will she be able to hide her identity from the soldiers? Will she be able to enjoy freedom? Ages 12-17

JURY: Marie-Célie Agnant (Montreal), Alain Beaulieu (Quebec), Aurélie Resch (Toronto)

Children’s Literature – French-language Illustration

Jane, le renard & moiJane, le renard & moi
Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal)
Written by Fanny Britt (Montreal)
Les éditions de la Pastèque
Hélène is a victim of harassment and bullying at her school. She takes refuge in the world of Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë’s first novel. When you think you’re fat and ugly, that the whole world is against you, and that the only thing left to you is literature, the friendship of another lonely soul can be a lifesaver. This graphic novel looks at the cruelty that children can inflict upon each other. Ages 11+

Aujourd’hui, le cielAujourd’hui, le ciel
Illustrated by Jacinthe Chevalier (Montreal)
Written by Rhéa Dufresne (Laval)
Éditions de l’Isatis
Aujourd’hui, le ciel talks about weather in the language of poetry: “White horses are dancing on the ocean, it’s a day of high winds.” Descriptions and comparisons that are colourful and filled with magic describe the vastness of the sky and the weather, with joy and wonder. Ages 4+

Au carnaval des animauxAu carnaval des animaux
Illustrated and written by Marianne Dubuc (Montreal)
Éditions de la courte échelle
It’s the carnival of the animals! Everyone is getting ready to party. And carnival time means costume time. Some show lots of imagination in finding a costume – take, for example, a sheep prickled up as a hedgehog. Others opt for simplicity – the secret is in the surprise. At carnival time, everything is permitted – especially fun! Ages 0-6

Quand je serai grandQuand je serai grand
Illustrated Stéphane Jorisch (Montreal)
Written by François Gravel
Éditions Hurtubise
This light-hearted poem has a lot of fun answering the inevitable question: ‘What will you be when you grow up?’ The questions are entertaining: ‘Where do you study to taste ice cream?’ And the children will find answers that are filled with imagination and wild ideas. This is an amusing, accessible and lively tale. Ages 5+

Mingan, mon villageMingan, mon village
Illustrated Rogé (Havre-aux-maisons, Que.)
Written by Innu students from Teueikan school, Mingan
Les éditions de la Bagnole
Rogé visited the school in Mingan, an Innu village in northeastern Quebec. He spent a few days there photographing each of the school kids. Back home in his studio in the Magdalen Islands, paintbrush in hand, he revisited the faces of each of the children. From his trip to Mingan, Rogé kept 15 faces and 15 texts, poems written by the Innu youth. Ages 5-11

JURY: Édith Bourget (Saint-Jacques, NB), France Brassard (Cowansville, Que.), Jean-Paul Eid (Montreal)

Governor General’s Literary Awards

The Canada Council for the Arts funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards. Each winner will receive $25,000. The publisher of each winning book will receive $3,000 to support promotional activities. Non-winning finalists each receive $1,000, bringing the total value of the awards to approximately $450,000.

Winners’ announcement

The winners will be announced Wednesday, November 13 at 10 am at the Betty Oliphant Theatre at Canada’s National Ballet School, 404 Jarvis Street in Toronto.

Awards presentation at Rideau Hall

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2013 GG Literary Awards on Thursday, November 28 at 6 pm at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa. Media representatives wishing to cover the awards presentation should contact Mélanie Villeneuve at the Rideau Hall Press Office, 613-998-7280 or

Canada Council media contacts:

Mireille Allaire
(613) 566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, ext. 4523 | E-mail:

Heather McAfee
(613) 566-4414 or 1-800-263-5588, ext. 4166 | E-mail:

To book interviews with authors, illustrators and translators:

Diane Hargrave Public Relations
416-467-9954, ext. 104 |

Chris DiRaddo Communications
514-806-5087 |

Christine Langlois
Hillbrooke Group
613-620-0332 |