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2019 Trillium Book Award Winners


WINNER | Trillium Book Award (English)

Brand Dionne_The Blue Clerk

Dionne Brand, The Blue Clerk, McClelland & Stewart

On a lonely wharf a clerk in an ink blue coat inspects bales and bales of paper that hold a poet's accumulated left-hand pages--the unwritten, the withheld, the unexpressed, the withdrawn, the restrained. In The Blue Clerk, award-winning poet Dionne Brand stages a conversation and an argument between the poet and the Blue Clerk, who is the keeper of the poet's pages. In their dialogues--which take shape as a series of haunting prose poems--the poet and the clerk invoke a host of writers, philosophers, and artists, from Jacob Lawrence, Lola Kiepja, and Walter Benjamin to John Coltrane, Josephine Turalba, and Jorge Luis Borges. Through these essay poems, Brand explores memory, language, culture, and time, offering beautiful and jarring juxtapositions ("The Wire is the latest version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"), and endlessly haunting language ("On a road like this you don't know where you are. Whether you have arrived or whether you are still on your way. Whether you are still at the beginning or at the end. You are in the middle all the time. What would be the sign?").

An essential observer and one of the most accomplished poets writing today, Dionne Brand's latest engages intimately with the act and difficulty of writing, the relationship between the author and the world, and the relationship between the author and art. Profound, moving, and wise in equal parts, The Blue Clerk is a work of staggering intellect and imagination, and a truly sublime piece of writing from one of Canada's most renowned, honoured, and bestselling poets.

Brand Dionne

Dionne Brand’s literary credentials are legion. Her most recent book of poetry, Ossuaries, won the Griffin Poetry Prize; her nine others include winners of the Governor General's Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Her novel In Another Place, Not Here was selected as a NYT Book Review Notable Book and a Best Book by the Globe and MailAt the Full and Change of the Moon was selected a Best Book by the LA Times and What We All Long For won the Toronto Book Award. In 2006, Brand was awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her contribution to the world of books and writing, and was Toronto's Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2012. In 2017, she was named to the Order of Canada. Brand is a Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. She lives in Toronto.

Publisher link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/562935/the-blue-clerk-by-dionne-brand/9780771001543

WINNER | Trillium Book Award (French)

L'Heureux Lisa_Et si un soir

Lisa L'Heureux, Et si un soir,  Prise de parole

In a grey building, four solitudes occupy a space-dream. Time, sometimes shifted, moves on but goes nowhere. Written like a fragmented dream, the musical Et si un soir is based on the enigma that makes it possible to explore an intimacy rarely admitted out loud and in which inaction just before acting is the very source of tension.

L'Heureux Lisa

Playwright and director Lisa L’Heureux founded and directs Théâtre Rouge Écarlate, for which she created Ciseaux and Pour l’hiver (Prix Jacques-Poirier-Outaouais 2017). Very active in the Ottawa-Gatineau area theatre world, she has participated in writing numerous collective works, such as Love is in the birds : une soirée francophone sans boule disco (Théâtre du Trillium), Comment frencher un fonctionnaire sans le fatiguer (Les Poids Plumes) and Tapage et autres bruits sourds (Les Poids Plumes and the NAC French Theatre). Et si un soir is her second published play.

Publisher’s Link: https://www.prisedeparole.ca/titres-livre/?id=573/

WINNER | Trillium Book Award for Poetry (English)

Richardson Robin_Sit How You Want

Robin Richardson, Sit How You Want, Signal Editions/Véhicule Press

Power and sex take centre stage in Robin Richardson’s formidable third collection,Sit How You Want. Plane crashes and automobile mishaps are the backdrop for female narrators who grapple with terror, anxiety, and powerlessness: “When I say I’m fine I mean the sky has opened / like an old wound under scurvy.” In their grim wit, sinister straight talk, and sometimes violent bawdiness, Richardson’s poems work as counter-charms against the lingering trauma of abusive relationships, both familial and romantic. The book embodies a belief in poetry as an instrument of change, a tool for transforming pain into exuberant verbal energy: “It is the thrill of ruination / makes us innovate.”

Richardson Robin

Robin Richardson is the author of two previous collections of poetry. She has won the Fortnight Poetry Prize in the UK, The John B. Santorini Award, Joan T. Baldwin Award, and has been shortlisted for the CBC, Walrus, and ARC Poetry Prizes, among others. She lives in Toronto and is Editor-in-Chief of Minola Review.

Publisher link: http://www.vehiculepress.com/q.php?EAN=9781550654974

WINNER | Trillium Book Award for Children's Literature (French)

Lim Diya_La marchande la sorcière la lune et moi


Diya Lim, La marchande, la sorcière, la lune et moi, Les Éditions L'Interligne

Ten-year-old Xiomara Kirsch, alias Mara, knows that life has a gloomy side: with her parents' financial problems, moving more than once and the imminent birth of her twin brothers, she's in the throes of mood swings and struggling under the weight of the responsibilities imposed on her. But then she's going to discover that, like the moon, life also has a bright side.

In Diya Lim's imagination, there's a magical world where fairies' wings take away the morning dew, the houses are sailboats and witches have hearts of gold!

Lim Diya


Diya Lim is winner of the Prix littéraire Henriette-Major 2011 and was a 2015 finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Children's Literature. She has written 12 children's books published in Canada.

Publisher link: https://interligne.ca/produit/marchande-sorciere-lune-moi/