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Finalists – 2016 Trillium Book Award

English Language Finalists for the Trillium Book Award


Where Did You Sleep Last Night

Lynn Crosbie, Toronto, Where Did You Sleep Last Night, House of Anansi Press

Evelyn Gray, a lonely 16-year-old, spends most of her time in her room reading, writing letters to dead people, listening to old records and talking to the poster of Kurt Cobain above her bed. Her alcoholic grunge relict mother’s recollections, books and music ignite Evelyn’s love for Cobain that is so strong it summons the deceased singer to her side. When Evelyn ends up in hospital after an overdose, she finds Cobain convalescing in the bed beside her. Becoming addicted to drugs and each other, Cobain - renamed Celine Black - and Evelyn escape the hospital and run off together. They become infamous musicians, and as their celebrity grows their relationship becomes more excessive, and an episode of sexual violence explodes, shockingly, into murder.

L Crosbie

Lynn Crosbie was born in Montreal and is a cultural critic, author, and poet. A Ph.D in English literature with a background in visual studies, she teaches at the University of Toronto and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Her books include Pearl, Queen Rat, and Dorothy L'Amour. She is also the author of the controversial book, Paul's Case and most recently, Life Is About Losing Everything. She is a contributing editor at Fashion, and a National Magazine Award Winner who has written about sports, style, art, and music.

Publisher link: http://houseofanansi.com/products/where-did-you-sleep-last-night

What You Need

Andrew Forbes, Peterborough, What You Need, Invisible Publishing

Loyalties collide with long-buried love, a man builds a nuclear bomb in his garage, and helicopters ferry away the injured. What You Need is a collection of vital, honest stories told in a personal and urgent style. Forbes’s characters struggle to challenge their all too ordinary lives, falling victim to fate, to one another, and to self-sabotage. These are stories about failure and yearning, and they remind us of the humour and humanity in even the worst decisions.

A Forbes

Andrew Forbes’s work has been nominated for the Journey Prize, and has appeared The Feathertale Review, Found Press, PRISM International, The New Quarterly, Scrivener Creative Review, This Magazine, Hobart, The Puritan, All Lit Up, The Classical, and Vice Sports. He is the author of What You Need, a collection of fiction, and The Utility of Boredom: Baseball Essays. He lives in Peterborough, Ontario

Publisher link: http://invisiblepublishing.com/product/what-you-need/


Kevin Hardcastle, Toronto, Debris, Biblioasis

The eleven remarkable stories in Kevin Hardcastle’s debut Debris introduce an authentic new voice. Written in a lean and muscular style and brimming with both violence and compassion, these stories unflinchingly explore the lives of those - MMA fighters, the institutionalized, small-town criminals - who exist on the fringes of society, unveiling the blood and guts and beauty of life in our flyover regions.

K Hardcastle

Kevin Hardcastle is a fiction writer from Simcoe County, Ontario. He studied writing at the University of Toronto and at Cardiff University. Hardcastle was a finalist for the 24th annual Journey Prize in 2012, and his short stories have been widely published and anthologized, including  in Word Riot, subTerrain, Noir NationThe Malahat Review, The Fiddlehead, The Puritan, The New Quarterly, PRISM international, The Walrus, This Magazine, and The Journey Prize Stories 24 & 26. He currently lives in Toronto.

Publisher link: http://biblioasis.com/shop/new-release/debris-2/

The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan

Robert Hough, Toronto, The Man Who Saved Henry Morgan, House of Anansi Press

In 1664, Benny Wand, a young thief and chess hustler, is arrested in London and deported to the city of Port Royal, Jamaica -- dubbed the "wickedest city on earth." There, he joins a motley crew of pirates and ex-cons who make up the manpower behind an ambitious up-and-coming seaman named Captain Henry Morgan. As Benny follows Morgan on his increasingly sordid attacks on Spanish strongholds, his chess-player's mind starts to piece together what's really happening with Morgan - becoming both Morgan's greatest enemy and closest friend in the process. This is blistering and bawdy storytelling at its best.

R Hough

Robert Hough’s novels have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award, and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His most recent novel, Dr. Brinkley’s Tower, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in Toronto.

Publisher link: http://houseofanansi.com/products/the-man-who-saved-henry-morgan

A Token Of My Affliction

Janette Platana, Peterborough, A Token of My Affliction, Tightrope Books

Janette Platana’s cheerfully disturbing, gleefully outraged, and chillingly beautiful stories break open the lives of apparently ordinary people who struggle and sometimes succeed in living without compromise, refusing to sacrifice the world they sense to the world they see, and where things can be true without ever being real. The range of this accomplished and poetic voice may cause vertigo, owing, as it does, as much to the Clash to Stephen King, to Caitlin Moran as to Flannery O’Connor, and something to David Sedaris. A Token of My Affliction will make you laugh while breaking your heart wide open.

j platana

Janette Platana's poetry and fiction have appeared in literary magazines across Canada, in the U.S., and in Turkey. Originally from Saskatchewan, and with a background in indie bands and improv comedy, she now lives and writes in Peterborough, Ontario. Her short story, “Dear Dave Bidini," won This Magazine‘s 2009 Great Canadian Literary Hunt. Longlisted for the 2015 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, A Token of My Affliction is Janette's debut collection of short fiction.

Publisher link: http://tightropebooks.com/a-token-of-my-affliction-janette-platana/

The Road Is Not The Same Road Out

Karen Solie, Toronto, The Road In Is Not the Same Road Out, House of Anansi Press

In her fourth collection, Karen Solie advances her extraordinary poetics of impetus and second thoughts. Ferrying the intimate self through the public realm, these poems meditate on the tensile strength of our most elemental bonds and beliefs. Consistently attuned to the demotic and the enigmatic, she returns our language to us as if new again, in a style somehow both nomadic and steady, both unpredictable and meticulously crafted. Intelligent, witty, tough-minded, and perceptive, The Road In Is Not the Same Road Out offers Solie's most exciting and captivating work to date, in poems of natural contemplation and uncertainty ranging under the aegis of lyric grace.

K Solie

Karen Solie was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. She is the author of three collections of poems including Pigeon, which won the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Pat Lowther Award, and the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. She was International Writer-in-Residence at the University of St. Andrews in 2011, and is an Associate Director for the Banff Centre's Writing Studio program. Her poems have been published in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe, and have been translated into French, German, Korean, and Dutch. She lives in Toronto.

Publisher link: http://houseofanansi.com/products/the-road-in-is-not-the-same-road-out

English Language Finalists For The Trillium Book Award For Poetry


A New Index For Predicting Catastrophies

Madhur Anand, Guelph, A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes, McClelland and Stewart

Originating from her living room, backyard garden, university office, or the field sites in boreal or tropical forests, the poems in Madhur Anand’s captivating debut collection compose a lyric science; they bring order and chaos together into a unified theory of predicting catastrophes, large and small. Anand’s ecologist poetics are sophisticated and original; her voice is an “index,” a way of cataloguing and measuring the world and human experience, and of illuminating the interconnectedness at the heart of all things. Narrating the beauty of her perceived world, the poems unabashedly embrace the scintillant language of scientific evidence as they interrogate crises of personal and global concern.

Madhur Anand

Madhur Anand’s poetry has appeared in literary magazines across North America and in the anthology The Shape of Content: Creative Writing in Mathematics and Science. Anand completed her Ph.D. in theoretical ecology at Western University, and is currently a professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph and interim Director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation.

Publisher link:  http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/249874/new-index-predicting-catastrophes#9780771006982


Soraya Peerbaye, Toronto, Tell: poems for a girlhood , Pedlar Press

Reena Virk was a girl of South Asian descent who was murdered on November 14th, 1997, in Saanich, British Columbia. At least eight young people participated in the initial assault, while more looked on. Seven of her assailants were girls; five were white. Virk rose from that beating and walked north across a bridge toward home. Her drowned body was found in the Gorge Waterway. In Tell: poems for a girlhood, without a trace of sentimentality and with heart-wrenching courage, Soraya Peerbaye gathers evidence into an entire poetic vision of contemporary adolescent fury and angst.

S Peerbaye

Soraya Peerbaye’s first collection of poetry, Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award. Her poems have appeared in Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Women Poets, as well as the literary journals Other Voices, Prairie Fire and The New Quarterly; she has also contributed to the chapbook anthology Translating Horses. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph. Peerbaye lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.

Publisher’s link: http://www.pedlarpress.com/news/soraya-peerbaye-tell-poems-for-a-girlhood/

Dear Leader

Damian Rogers, Toronto, Dear Leader, Coach House Books

‘How can we live with the kind of pain that worsens each day? Dear Leader explains through bold endurance, enumerated blessings and the artistic imagination. By pasting stark truths over, or under, images of strange, compelling beauty, Rogers creates a collage, a simulation of the human heart under assault, bleeding but unbroken. Part Orpheus, part pop-heroine who can “paint the daytime black,” all, an original act of aesthetic violence and pure, dauntless, love.’ 
— Lynn Crosbie

D Rogers

Originally from the Detroit area, Damian Rogers now lives in Toronto where she works as the poetry editor of both House of Anansi Press and The Walrus, and as the creative director of Poetry in Voice, a national recitation contest for Canadian high-school students. Her first book of poems, Paper Radio, was nominated for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. 

Publisher’s link: http://www.chbooks.com/catalogue/dear-leader

French Language Finalists for the Trillium Book Award


Un neurinome sure une balancoire

Alain Doom, Ottawa,  Un neurinome sur une balançoire, Éditions Prise de parole

A neurinoma is a benign tumour on the sheath surrounding the eighth cranial nerve, which connects the ear to the brain. If left untreated, the tumour can put pressure on the brain and eventually cause death. This terrible diagnosis falls like a guillotine on a man and paralyzes him. So begins a voyage along the boundary between reality and fiction, a voyage that will lead this man to poetry at the end of a merciless battle. The book is a monologue in multiple voices, recounting the memory of a lost father, a poet who cherishes silence, and a benevolent healer, and it bears witness to a love that threatens to implode at any moment. Introspective yet gripping, it renders in a funny and moving way the fading of a hero, the fascination of poetry, and the fetishization of a tumour nesting inside a man’s skull.

Alain Doom

Alain Doom is the founder and director of, and a professor in, the Theatre program at Laurentian University. He has been a literary critic on Radio-Canada, a member of the editorial board of the cultural journal Liaison and director of the Association des théâtres francophones du Canada. He won Le Droit’s Theatre Prize for his remarkable performance in Du pépin à la fissure, by Patrice Desbiens. Un neurinome sur une balançoire is his first work of literature.

Publisher’s Link:  http://www.prisedeparole.ca/titres-livre/?id=517

Nourrir la machine humaine

Caroline Durand, Peterborough, Nourrir la machine humaine, McGill-Queen’s University Press

Advice on nutrition is everywhere: there are so many people disseminating opinions on which foods to eat and which to avoid that diet seems to be a true obsession today.  In Nourrir la machine humaine (Feeding the Human Machine: Food and Nutrition in Quebec, 1860-1945), Caroline Durand explores the origins of this phenomenon and shows how nutrition contributed to Quebec’s modernization during a period marked by industrialization, urbanization, two world wars, and a major economic crash. She analyzes policies as well as published literature and images to show how the rational diets they proposed gave women, children, farmers and workers responsibility for their own health, while encouraging them to see their bodies as productive machines at the service of the nation and the market.

Nourrir la machine humaine examines the relevance of dietary recommendations in Quebec society and seeks to explain the ideological and scientific roots of this advice, its effectiveness and the resistance it has sometimes provoked.

C Durand

Caroline Durand is Assistant Professor of History and Canadian Studies at Trent University.


Marjorie Chalifoux

Véronique-Marie Kaye, Ottawa, Marjorie Chalifoux, Éditions Prise de parole

Marjorie Chalifoux, a nineteen-year-old seamstress, is living a quiet, routine life in the shadow of her irascible father – a strange man skilled in the art of conversation with the dead. Her tranquil existence takes an unexpected turn: she finds herself pregnant and her lover has gone off and died in a car accident. What’s more, she has to tell her father! Driven by destiny, she is looking for something to give new meaning to her life. Her journey takes her to Montreal, where she meets a series of characters, each more surprising than the last. She experiences love and the pleasures of the flesh, and learns – much to her own surprise – that deep inside her is a determined, resourceful, stubborn and undeniably charming woman.


Novelist and playwright Véronique-Marie Kaye has twice won the Prix O’Neill-Karch in the provincial playwriting contest. In 2014, she was a Trillium Book Award finalist for her play Afghanistan (Prise de parole). She has also published Eulalie la Cigogne (Vents d’Ouest, 2010).

Publisher’s Link:  http://www.prisedeparole.ca/titres-livre/?id=502

Pour làmour de Dimitri

Didier Leclair, Toronto, Pour l’amour de Dimitri, Éditions David

After hitting bottom, Adrian has battled long and hard to pull himself back up. But his son Rodney still refuses to speak to him and has no desire for reconciliation. Rodney blames his mother’s death on his father, even though Adrian swears he had nothing to do with it. Luckily for Adrian, he has his stepdaughter Sarah, his friend Max, who has returned from a world away, his ill-tempered boss Henry, his lover Lucy, and above all, Dimitri, the grandson he adores. Unfortunately, Rodney, who is separated from Dimitri’s mother, Sarah, does not want his father to see the boy anymore because he is a bad influence.


Born in Montreal, Didier Leclair grew up in Africa and today lives in Toronto. A Trillium Book Award winner for his novel, Toronto, je t’aime, he has also been shortlisted for a Governor General's Literary Award for Ce pays qui est le mien.  

Publisher’s Link: http://editionsdavid.com/2015/09/lamour-dimitri-didier-leclair

Mots et marees

Carlos Taveira, Gatineau/ Ottawa, Mots et marées, tome 2 : Les maux de Marie-Josèphe-Angélique, Les Éditions L’Interligne

Skillfully melding history and imagination, Carlos Taveira uses magnificent language to tell a story from a little-known part of history. The author shakes the sense of fatalism stuck to a young black woman, a slave in 18th century Montreal with a fascinating inner life who succeeds in gaining control of her fears and rages. The author’s efficient writing style and a powerful spirit give a voice to one of the wretched of the Earth.


Carlos Taveira’s mother tongue is Portuguese. After leaving his native Angola in 1985, he lived in Montreal before settling in Ottawa, where he works in information technology. Les maux de Marie-Josèphe-Angélique is the second volume of Mots et marées. Volume 1, Pedro Da Silva, about a Portuguese courier for the King in New France, was published in 2014.

Publisher’s Link: http://www.archambault.ca/mots-et-marees-tome-2-JLI16179452-fr-pr

French Language Finalists for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry

Comptine a rebours


Sonia Lamontagne, Vanier, Comptine à rebours, Éditions Prise de parole

In Comptine à rebours, a traumatic childhood episode bursts into the consciousness of a young woman as she is developing a romantic relationship. Based on the author’s own experiences and knowledge of psychopathology, the collection offers a deeply personal perspective on the little-known syndrome of complex post-traumatic stress disorder. In this poignant work, Sonia Lamontagne uses powerful, troubling images to produce a lucid, courageous depiction of the psychological reality of a woman locked in battle with demons from her past.



Sonia Lamontagne is a poet from Northern Ontario. She contributes to various projects for publication, working with authors as well as visual and performing artists. She also leads poetry workshops in schools. Her first collection, À tire d’ailes, won the 2012 Trillium Book Award for Poetry and has been translated into English (On Butterfly Wings, Bookland Press). Sonia completed her undergraduate studies in French and psychology and has a Master’s in art therapy.

Publisher’s Link: http://www.prisedeparole.ca/titres-livre/?id=504



Mots qu'elle a faits terre


Gilles Latour, Ottawa, Mots qu’elle a faits terre, Les Éditions L’Interligne

In Mots qu’elle a faits terre, the creative experience is built on evoking a female presence, sometimes fleeting like the scent of perfume that lingers in the poet’s memory, sometimes as subtle as the shadow of a briefly-glimpsed metaphor that slips away, and always suffused – as by a mist – with a poetry that seeks to give voice to that which constantly eludes our senses, yet somehow empowers new words to express the inexpressible.



Born in Cornwall, Gilles Latour grew up in Ottawa and completed his M.A. in French language and literature at McGill University. As a management consultant in not-for-profit development, working with humanitarian charitable organizations, he travels the world to make his living – but he lives by creating poetry.

Publisher’s Link: https://interligne.ca/communiquepresse/MotsQuelleAFaitsTerre_Communique.pdf


David Ménard, Alexandria, Neuvaines, Les Éditions L’Interligne

In Neuvaines, David Ménard uses a character who is deeply, fully alive to summarize, brilliantly, what the process is really like when a troubled self is searching for liberation. Neuvaines gives us a world whose language is the very image of a daydream, rippling with true compassion for those who have been shipwrecked in love, exiled from a sky that seems inaccessible.


David Ménard hails from Eastern Ontario. He has previously published poetry in a group anthology entitled Le Lycanthrope, as well as the novel Nous aurons vécu nous non plus, published in 2011 by Éditions L’Interligne.

Publisher’s Link: https://interligne.ca/Ressources/Affiches/Neuvaines.pdf