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Finalists – 2018 Trillium Book Award

English Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award


The Marrow Thieves

Cherie Dimaline, The Marrow Thieves, DCB/ Cormorant Books

Humanity has nearly destroyed its world through global warming, but now an even greater evil lurks. The indigenous people of North America are being hunted and harvested for their bone marrow, which carries the key to recovering something the rest of the population has lost: the ability to dream. In this dark world, Frenchie and his companions struggle to survive as they make their way up north to the old lands. For now, survival means staying hidden - but what they don't know is that one of them holds the secret to defeating the marrow thieves.

Cherie Dimaline

Cherie Dimaline is a Métis author and editor whose award-winning fiction has been published and anthologized internationally. Her first book, Red Rooms, was published in 2007, and her novel The Girl Who Grew a Galaxy was released in 2013. In 2014, she was named the Emerging Artist of the Year at the Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and became the first Aboriginal Writer in Residence for the Toronto Public Library. The Marrow Thieves has won the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Kirkus Prize; it is a finalist for the White Pine Award, was named to the Globe and Mail Top 100 and was selected for CBC’s Canada Reads.

Publisher Link: http://cormorantbooks.com/dcb/isbn9781770864863/


Catherine Hernandez, Scarborough, Arsenal Pulp Press

Scarborough is a low-income, culturally diverse neighbourhood east of Toronto; like many inner-city communities, it suffers under the weight of poverty, drugs, crime, and urban blight. Scarborough the novel employs a multitude of voices to tell the story of a tight-knit neighbourhood under fire: among them, Victor, a black artist harassed by the police; Winsum, a West Indian restaurant owner struggling to keep it together; and Hina, a Muslim school worker who witnesses first-hand the impact of poverty on education.

And then there are the three kids who work to rise above a system that consistently fails them: Bing, a gay Filipino boy who lives under the shadow of his father's mental illness; Sylvie, Bing's best friend, a Native girl whose family struggles to find a permanent home to live in; and Laura, whose history of neglect by her mother is destined to repeat itself with her father

Catherine Hernandez

Catherine Hernandez is a proud queer woman of colour, radical mother, activist, theatre practitioner, award-winning author, and the Artistic Director of b current performing arts. Her one-woman show, The Femme Playlist, premiered at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in 2014 as part of the afterRock Play Series co-produced by b current, Eventual Ashes and Sulong Theatre She has served playwright residencies at Theatre Passe Muraille, Carlos Bulosan Theatre, Shaw Festival Theatre, Blyth Festival Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Nightswimming Theatre. Her plays Kilt Pins and Singkil were published by Playwright’s Canada Press. Scarborough won the Jim Wong-Chu Award for the unpublished manuscript, was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Awards and Evergreen Forest of Reading Award and longlisted for Canada Reads.  Catherine was named one of 17 Writers to Watch by CBC Books.

Publisher link: http://www.arsenalpulp.com/bookinfo.php?index=461

Birds Art Life

Kyo Maclear, Birds Art Life, Doubleday Canada

After meeting a Toronto musician who has lost his heart to birds, Kyo decides to follow him for a year and find out what prompted him to suddenly embrace nature. This memoir celebrates the particular madness of loving and chasing after birds in a big city. Intimate and philosophical, moving with ease between the granular and the grand view, it celebrates the creative and liberating effects of keeping your eyes and ears wide open, and explores what happens when you apply the core lessons of birding to other aspects of life. In one sense, this is a book about disconnection—how our passions can buckle under the demands and emotions of daily life—and about reconnection: how the act of seeking passion and beauty in small ways can lead us to discover our most satisfying life. On a deeper level, it takes up the questions of how we are shaped and nurtured by our parallel passions, and how we might come to cherish not only the world's pristine natural places but also the blemished urban spaces where most of us live. Birds Art Life follows two artists on a yearlong adventure that is at once a meditation on the nature of creativity and a quest for a good and meaningful life.

Kyo Maclear

Kyo Maclear is a novelist, essayist, and children's author whose books have been translated and published in twenty countries. She was born in London, England (to a British father and Japanese mother) and moved to Canada at the age of four. She is currently completing a PhD in the environmental humanities at York University and is associate faculty with Humber College's School for Writers and the University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA program. Birds Art Life was a finalist for the 2017 Hilary Weston Writers Prize for Nonfiction and included on several notable 'Best of Year' lists.

Publisher link: https://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/547093/birds-art-life#9780385687539/

Life on the Ground Floor

James Maskalyk, Life on the Ground Floor, Doubleday Canada

In this deeply personal book, humanitarian doctor and activist James Maskalyk reflects upon his extensive experience in emergency medicine. Splitting his time between a trauma centre in Toronto’s inner city and the largest teaching hospital in Addis Ababa, he discovers that though the cultures, resources and medical challenges of the hospitals may differ, they are linked indelibly by the ground floor: the location of their emergency rooms. Here, on the ground floor, is where Maskalyk confronts his fears and doubts about medicine, and witnesses our mourning and laughter, tragedies and hopes, the frailty of being and the resilience of the human spirit.

Yet, he is swept most intimately into this story of “human aliveness” not as a physician, but as a grandson caring for his grandfather, now in his nineties. Masterfully written and artfully structured, Life on the Ground Floor is more than just an emergency doctor’s memoir—it’s a meditation on health and sickness, on when to hang on tight, and when to let go.

James Maskalyk

Dr. James Maskalyk, bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Six Months in Sudan, is an emergency-room physician, award-winning teacher and member of Médecins Sans Frontières. He teaches meditation with the Consciousness Explorers Club and currently divides his time between Toronto and Addis Ababa. Life on the Ground Floor won the 2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Prize for Nonfiction.

Publisher link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/108744/life-on-the-ground-floor-by-dr-james-maskalyk/9780385665971/

So Much Love

Rebecca Rosenblum, So Much Love, McClelland and Stewart

When Catherine Reindeer mysteriously vanishes from the parking lot outside the restaurant where she works, an entire community is shattered. Her fellow waitress now sees danger all around her. Her mother desperately seeks comfort in saying her name over and over again. Her professor thinks of her obsessively. Her husband refuses to give up hope that she will one day come home. As we move back and forth between those who knew Catherine intimately and those who barely knew her at all, So Much Love reveals how an unexpected disappearance can overturn everything for those left behind.

But at the heart of the novel is Catherine's own surprising journey of resilience and recovery. When, after months of unimaginable horror, a final devastating loss forces her to make a bold decision, she is unprepared for everything that follows. Woven throughout Catherine's story are glimpses of a local poet who was murdered decades earlier, a woman whose work becomes a lifeline for Catherine during her darkest hours.

Rebecca Rosenblum

Rebecca Rosenblum  is the author of two acclaimed short story collections, The Big Dream and Once, winner of the Metcalf-Rooke Award and named one of Quill & Quire’s “15 Books That Mattered in 2008.” Her fiction has been shortlisted for the Journey Prize, the National Magazine Awards, and the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. She lives in Toronto. So Much Love is her first novel.

Publisher link: https://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/250276/so-much-love#9780771072437

This Accident of Being Lost

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, This Accident of Being Lost, House of Anansi Press

This Accident of Being Lost is the knife-sharp new collection of stories and songs from award-winning Nishnaabeg storyteller and writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. These visionary pieces build upon Simpson's powerful use of the fragment as a tool for intervention in her critically acclaimed collection Islands of Decolonial Love. Provocateur and poet, she continually rebirths a decolonized reality, one that circles in and out of time and resists dominant narratives or comfortable categorization. A crow watches over a deer addicted to road salt; Lake Ontario floods Toronto to remake the world while texting "ARE THEY GETTING IT?"; lovers visit the last remaining corner of the boreal forest; three comrades guerrilla-tap maples in an upper middle-class neighbourhood; and Kwe gets her firearms license in rural Ontario. Blending elements of Nishnaabeg storytelling, science fiction, contemporary realism, and the lyric voice, This Accident of Being Lost burns with a quiet intensity, like a campfire in your backyard, challenging you to reconsider the world you thought you knew.

Leanne Betasam

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer, scholar, musician, and is a member of Alderville First Nation. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and has lectured at universities across Canada. She is the author of three previous books, including Islands of Decolonial Love, and the editor of three anthologies. She has released two albums, including f(l)ight, which is a companion piece to this collection.

Publisher link: https://houseofanansi.com/products/this-accident-of-being-lost

English Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award For Poetry



Pino Coluccio, Class ClownBiblioasis

Pino Coluccio’s Class Clown takes classic themes of love, death, and time and presents them in short, witty poems all based on rhyme, puns, and wordplay. More punk than prog, neither light nor overweight, the verse in Pino Coluccio’s second book hews to the classic themes of love, death and the passage of time, while presenting a cast of longers and losers whose admirable stubborn pluck is also at times tragic. A collection that above all champions that highest of human art forms: clowning around.


Pino Coluccio's poems have appeared in The Walrus and three anthologies. His first collection, First Comes Love, came out in 2005. He lives in Toronto.

Publisher link: http://biblioasis.com/shop/poetry/class-clown/

The Better Monsters

Puneet DuttThe Better Monsters, Mansfield Press

If a book can be a mirror, The Better Monsters reflects what we see in ourselves and in each other. Replete with compelling protagonists and cross-referencing multiple identities, Puneet Dutt’s poems masterfully negotiate the cultural complexities of politics, violence, and war in the new century, and explore the lingering effect of racism and the ideas of borders, belonging, and home in North America and beyond. Honest, disarming, and brimming with the harrowing experiences and emotions of the individual, The Better Monsters is a fine debut from one of Canada’s most exciting emerging poets.

Puneet Dutt

Puneet Dutt received her MA in English from Ryerson University. She is the author of the chapbook PTSD south beach (Grey Borders Books), which was a Finalist for the 2016 Breitling Chapbook Prize (Phantom Books). Her work has been published in a number of journals and in Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. She was born in India and raised in New Jersey. She now resides in Toronto with her husband, where she is an editorial board member at Canthius and a creative writing workshop facilitator with the Toronto Writers Collective. 

Publisher link: http://mansfieldpress.net/puneet-dutt/

Admission Requirements

Phoebe Wang, Admission Requirements, McClelland & Stewart

A debut collection from a startling new voice in Canadian poetry.The poems in Admission Requirements attempt to discover what is required of us when we cut across our material and psychic geographies. Simultaneously full and empty of its origins, the self is continually taxed of any certainties and ways of being. The speaker in these poems is engaged in a kind of fieldwork, surveying gardens, communities, and the haphazard cityscape, where the reader is presented with the paradoxes of subsumed histories. With understated irony and unsettling imagery, the poems address the internal conflicts inherent in contemporary living.

Phoebe Wang

Phoebe Wang was born in Ottawa and currently lives in Toronto, where she writes and teaches. She holds a BA in English from York University and a MA in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto. She is the author of two chapbooks, Occasional Emergencies (2013) and Hanging Exhibits (2016), and was the 2015 winner of Prism international‘s Poetry Contest. Admission Requirements is her debut collection of poetry.

Publisher’s link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/547924/admission-requirements-by-phoebe-wang/

French Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award


Le Poids du temps

Maurice HenrieLe poids du temps, Les Presses de L’Université d’Ottawa

These are Henrie’s musings on key issues, most notably on politics—because for years, Maurice Henrie worked in the shadow of federal parliamentarians—but also on literature and on topics of a socioeconomic nature.

Here, the pen is as free and uncensored as the thought that drives it. It broaches any number of subjects, and the presentation of this wide range of short texts is thematic. In terms of politics, for instance, Henrie explores the affinity between an elected official and his constituents, the traditional regime of checks and balances in House of Commons debates, and the vicissitudes that characterize all ruling parties. Turning to literature, Henrie contemplates the mysteries of literary success, the misunderstandings that dominate literature, and the woes of writing in an electronic world.

Maurice Henrie

Born in Rockland East, Ontario, Maurice Henrie has published short story collections, essays, two satires of the civil service and two novels. He has won numerous awards and distinctions, including a Trillium Book Award in 1996 for Un balcon dans le ciel. His work has been translated and used in schools around in the world.

Publisher’s Link: https://press.uottawa.ca/le-poids-du-temps.html

Le bonheur est un parfum sans nom

Didier Leclair, Le bonheur est un parfum sans nom, Éditions David

Le bonheur est un parfum sans nom tells the story of a black novelist and musician who hasn’t written a single line in four years. After separating from his wife several years earlier, he lives as a recluse, surrounded by his friends, all of them members of the same jazz quintet. One evening, he falls in love, over the course of a dance, with Miss Perfumado, a mysterious, even enigmatic woman. He loses touch with her. His friend Winston, the saxophonist, consoles him. He will find his lost love with the help of his friends, particularly Moussa, the African who has asked him to write his biography. He does not really want to do it, but how can he say no to a friend who believes him to be a great author, without ever having read his work? This novelist is, above all, searching for happiness. Does it have a taste, a colour, a scent? Is he happy with his daughter, his son, even his ever so indulgent ex-wife? He promises his publisher a novel that will answer all of these questions. That novel is the book the reader is holding right now.

 Didier Leclair

Didier Leclair was born in Montreal, in 1967, to Rwandan parents. After spending his childhood in Africa, he settled in Toronto in 1987, following his Liberal Arts studies at Laurentian University in Sudbury. He was the 2001 Trillium Book Award Winner for his first novel, Toronto, je t’aime, and a Governor General’s Award finalist in 2004 for Ce pays qui est le mienLe bonheur est un parfum sans nom is his eighth book.

Publisher’s Link: http://editionsdavid.com/products-page/le-bonheur-est-un-parfum-sans-nom/

Sept vies, dix-sept morts

Alain Bernard Marchand, Sept vies, dix-sept morts, Les Herbes rouges

What do a conservator of ancient documents, the son of an opponent of the Greek Regime of the Colonels, a mail boy in an office tower, a student struggling to get published, a jogger who discovers a dead body, a film buff captivated by a trailer, and two brothers born one minute and fifty-seven seconds apart all have in common? The answer to that question comes in the form of “seven lives and 17 deaths” (the title of the book). In these short stories that seem to speak to one another, Alain Bernard Marchand explores the different forms of association—by blood, by taste, by temperament—that connect characters who find themselves defenceless during a brush with death.

Alain Bernard Marchand

After spending a career in the Canadian civil service, Alain Bernard Marchand is now wholly devoted to writing, and his poetry, narrative tales, novels, essays and short stories have earned him multiple honours.

Publisher’s Link: https://www.lesherbesrouges.com/sept-vies-dixsept-morts/

Sans capote ni kalachnikovi

Blaise Ndala, Sans capote ni kalachnikov, Mémoire d’encrier

Rwenzori, African Great Lakes Region. Fourmi Rouge (“Red Ant”) and Petit Che (“Little Che”) are tracking the elusive shadowy figures of the bloodiest conflict since the end of World War II. They revolted against the dictator who trapped the country between plummeting life expectancies and raging electoral constipation. But what haunts them the most goes beyond the vagaries of politics. Their obsession has a name: Véronique Quesnel, a filmmaker drawn to this republic, reported to be the “centre of gravity of black misery.” Will they discover the true face of the woman who has been attracting crowds, from Montreal to Hollywood? Will they manage to learn the truth and devise a new future?

Blaise Ndala

Blaise Ndala was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He left there in 2003 to relocate to Belgium, where he would study the law. In 2007, he settled in the National Capital Region of Canada and began teaching French as a foreign language, before becoming a federal civil servant. His first novel, J’irai danser sur la tombe de Senghor, garnered honours, including as a Trillium Book Award finalist. Alongside his civil service duties, Blaise Ndala has been a guest blogger for Huffington Post France since the launch of the online newspaper’s French edition.

Publisher’s Link: http://memoiredencrier.com/sans-capote-ni-kalachnikov-blaise-ndala/

Sous le soleil de midi

Aurélie Resch, Sous le soleil de midi, Éditions Prise de parole

Things didn’t go as they should have. In general they end differently. But there you have it: traffic jams, family pressure, curiosity and war will happen and, all of a sudden, events take an unexpected turn. And with this muggy heat that makes tensions boil over.

 Aurélie Resch

Author, journalist and scriptwriter Aurélie Resch writes about exile and the quest for an identity. She has been nominated for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, Radio-Canada’s Prix des Lecteurs (Reader’s Choice Award) and the Prix Christine Dumitriu Van Saanen. Aurélie Resch has also been published in various cultural periodicals, directed documentaries for French-language television and led writing workshops at schools, book fairs and cultural centres. This array of achievements, through which Aurélie Resch strives to promote French culture, earned her a place as a finalist for the French Senate’s Trophies in 2008.

Publisher’s Link: http://www.prisedeparole.ca/titres-livre/?id=557

French Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award Poetry




Sylvie Bérard, Oubliez, Éditions Prise de parole

On a train travelling eastward, a woman contemplates the romantic estrangement of another who has forgotten that she exists. In a house, a woman—the same one?—thinks about her mother, impaired by Alzheimer’s disease. These two forms of forgetfulness, which intersect both naturally and discordantly over the course of a story where everything fades, elicit anger and sorrow in the person beset by memories.

Sylvie Bérard


Sylvie Bérard earned a PhD in Semiology from UQAM with a dissertation on science fiction written by women. She now devotes her time to her three passions: teaching First Nations Literature and Franco-Canadian Literature at Trent University; writing science fiction novels (Terre des Autres, 2004 (translation, Of Wind and Sand, 2009, published by EDGE), and La Saga d’Illyge, 2011, original French novels published by Alire), short stories and other unclassifiable texts; and research, working on literature by indigenous peoples, queer writing and science fiction. She has also co-translated five books.

Publisher link: http://www.prisedeparole.ca/titres-livre/?id=556





Chloé LaDuchesse, Furies, Mémoire d’encrier

Furies, by Chloé LaDuchesse, submerges the reader in a world populated by female mythological creatures present at the birth of a new type of woman. Introduction to the self, the other and that art of being a woman and a feminist and of assuming one’s own history. Between shouts and screams. Between volcanoes and lakes.

Divided in three sections, Furies seeks to understand the fine line between history and myth, surface and substance, life and death. The creatures portrayed in this collection wield a tender and corrosive language and embody the freedom of being a woman, down to her cruelest designs. Texts in which love and the abject intermingle and are torn from their silence.

 Chloé LaDuchesse


Montreal native Chloé LaDuchesse has been published in multiple magazines. A feminist with a great love of words, music and boxing, she lives in Sudbury, Ontario. Furies is her first book of poems.

Publisher’s Link: http://memoiredencrier.com/furies-chloe-laduchesse/

 Si je connaissais    

Christian Milat, Si je connaissais..., Éditions David

Inspired by the verses penned by the poet René Char, Christian Milat tackles a subject that has rarely been addressed in poetry: knowledge, of the self, of those around us, of our environment and of humanity. For him, this knowledge is necessarily obtained through words and their multiple meanings and connotations. In a controlled, seemingly classic form, the poems in this collection invite us to reflect on the relationship between language and the human condition.
Christian Milat     

A professor in the French Department at the University of Ottawa, Christian Milat teaches creative writing and 20th- and 21st-century French literature, about which he has published many research projects. He published his first book of poetry with Éditions David, Douleureuse aurore, in 2006.

Publisher’s Link: http://editionsdavid.com/2016/10/connaissais-christian-milat/