Announcing the 2019 GGBooks Finalists

Ottawa, October 2, 2019 – Today, the Canada Council for the Arts revealed the 2019 finalists for the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGBooks).

Following a rigorous process, peer assessment committees determined that these 70 books were the best to have been published in Canada in seven categories, in both French and in English. They stood out from among some 1,400 books submitted to the committees. See the full list here.

Dates to mark in your calendar:

  • October 29: The 14 winners will be announced on
  • December 12: Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, will host a ceremony to celebrate the winners at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa.
  • Later this fall: The public will be invited to meet with the GGBooks winners at public readings in Ottawa.

About the GGBooks:

  • Founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Awards are one of Canada’s oldest and most prestigious literary award programs, with a total annual prize value of $450,000.
  • The Canada Council for the Arts has funded, administered and promoted the awards since 1959.
  • Finalists are selected by category-specific, language-based peer assessment committees (seven in English and seven in French), who consider eligible books published between September 1st, 2018, and September 30, 2019, for English-language books and between July 1st, 2018, and June 30, 2019, for French-language books.
  • Each winner receives $25,000, with the publisher receiving $3,000 to promote the winning book. Finalists receive $1,000 each.

2019 English-language finalists

Young People’s Literature – Text:

  • Break in Case of Emergency – Brian Francis (Toronto, Ont.)
    HarperCollins Publishers
  • Cold White Sun – Sue Farrell Holler (Grande Prairie, Alta.)
    Groundwood Books
  • Girl of the Southern Sea – Michelle Kadarusman (Toronto, Ont.)
    Pajama Press
  • Stand on the Sky – Erin Bow (Kitchener, Ont.)
    Scholastic Canada
  • The Grey Sisters – Jo Treggiari (Lunenburg, N.S.)
    Penguin Teen/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

Peer Assessment Committee: Kagiso Lesego Molope, Kenneth Oppel, Ellen Schwartz

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books:

  • Albert’s Quiet Quest – Isabelle Arsenault (Montréal, Que.)
    Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers
  • Birdsong – Julie Flett (Vancouver, B.C.)
    Greystone Books
  • How to Give Your Cat a Bath – Nicola Winstanley and John Martz (Hamilton/Toronto, Ont.)
    Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers
  • King Mouse – Cary Fagan and Dena Seiferling (Toronto, Ont./Calgary, Alta.)
    Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers
  • Small in the City – Sydney Smith (Halifax, N.S.)
    Groundwood Books

Peer Assessment Committee: Shauntay Grant, Jon Klassen, Kathryn Shoemaker

2019 French-language finalists

Young People’s Literature – Text:

  • Au carrefour – Jean-François Sénéchal (Saint-Lambert, Que.)
    Leméac Éditeur
  • Dans le cœur de Florence – Lucie Bergeron (Québec, Que.)
    Soulières éditeur
  • L’albatros et la mésange – Dominique Demers (Montréal, Que.)
    Éditions Québec Amérique
  • Mon cœur après la pluie – Pierre Labrie (Longueuil, Que.)
    Soulières éditeur
  • Où est ma maison? – Édith Bourget (Saint-Jacques, N.B.)
    Les éditions du soleil de minuit

Peer Assessment Committee: Marie-Célie Agnant, Jocelyn Boisvert, Karen Olsen


Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books:

  • Contacts – Mélanie Leclerc (Saint-Lazare, Que.)
    Mécanique générale
  • Jack et le temps perdu – Stéphanie Lapointe and Delphie Côté-Lacroix (Montréal, Que.)
    Quai no 5, Les Éditions XYZ
  • L’escapade de Paolo – Lucie Papineau and Lucie Crovatto (Longueuil/Québec, Que.)
    Les Éditions de la Bagnole
  • Laurent, c’est moi! – Stéphanie Deslauriers and Geneviève Desprès (Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot/Saint-Lambert, Que.)
  • Le pelleteur de nuages – Simon Boulerice and Josée Bisaillon (Montréal/Longueuil, Que.)
    La courte échelle

Peer Assessment Committee:  Nahid Kazemi, Diane Carmel Léger, François Thisdale

Also nominated this year is Madeleine Stratford (Ottawa, Ont.) for her translation of Cherie Dimaline’s YA novel, The Marrow Thieves Pilleurs de rêvespublished by Éditions du Boréal.

About Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Public Lending Right (PLR) Program sends yearly payments to authors whose works are in Canada’s public libraries. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.

Media contacts

To book interviews with the finalists:
Charlene Coy, C2C Communications

Canada Council for the Arts
Joly-Anne Ricard
Communications Advisor
1-800-263-5588, ext. 4166 or
343-998-2627 (cell)

Rideau Hall contact:
Josephine Laframboise
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-668-1929 (cellphone)