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Finalists – 2019 Trillium Book Award

English Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award

Berger TamaraFaith_Queen Solomon

Tamara Faith Berger, Queen Solomon, Coach House Books

The erotic awakening and mental disintegration of an intense young man who leaves home and enters the phantasm of Israel. It's just another boring summer for our teenaged narrator - until Barbra arrives. An Ethiopian Jew, Barbra was brought to Israel at age five, a part of Operation Solomon, and now our narrator's well-intentioned father has brought her, as a teen, to their home for the summer. But Barbra isn't the docile and grateful orphan they expect, and soon our narrator, terrified of her and drawn to her in equal measure, finds himself immersed in compulsive psychosexual games with her, as she binge-drinks and lies to his family. Things go terribly wrong, and Barbra flees. But seven years later, as our narrator is getting his life back on track, with a new girlfriend and a master's degree in Holocaust Studies underway, Barbra shows up at our narrator's house once again, her "spiritual teacher" in tow, and our narrator finds his politics, and his sanity, back in question.


Berger TamaraFaith

Tamara Faith Berger writes fiction, non-fiction and screenplays. She is the author of Lie With Me (2001), The Way of the Whore (2004), (republished together by Coach House Books as Little Cat in 2013), Maidenhead (2012) and Kuntalini (2016). Her fifth book, Queen Solomon, was published by Coach House Books in October 2018. Maidenhead was nominated for a Trillium Book Award and it won the Believer Book Award. Her work has been published in ApologyCanadian Art, Taddle Creek and Canadian Notes and Queries. She has a BFA in Studio Art from Concordia University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.

Publisher Link: https://chbooks.com/Books/Q/Queen-Solomon

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and bales of paper that hold a poet's accumulated left-hand pages--the unwritten, the withheld, the unexpressed, the withdrawn, the restrained.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

Dey Claudia_Heartbreaker

Claudia Dey, Heartbreaker, HarperAvenue, an imprint of HarperCollins

Seventeen years after falling from a stolen car into a remote northern town, Billie Jean Fontaine is still an outsider. She may follow the stifling rules of this odd place, but no one will forget that she came from elsewhere. When Billie Jean vanishes one cold October night in her bare feet and track suit with only her truck keys, those closest to her begin a frantic search. Her daughter, Pony, a girl struggling against being a teen in the middle of nowhere; her killer dog to whom she cannot tell a lie; her husband, The Heavy, a man haunted by his past; and the charismatic Supernatural, a teenage boy longing only to be average. Each holding a different piece of the puzzle, they must come together to understand the darkest secrets of their beloved, and lay bare the mysteries of the human heart.

With her luminous prose, wry humour and dead-on cultural observations, Claudia Dey has created a storytelling tour de force about what it means to love, no matter the consequences.

Dey Claudia

Claudia Dey is the author of the novel Stunt, a Globe & Mail and Quill & Quire Book of the Year. Her plays have been produced internationally and nominated for the Governor General's and Trillium Book Awards. Dey's writing has appeared in many publications including The Believer and The Paris Review. Dey has also worked as a horror film actress and cook in lumber camps across northern Canada, and is co-designer of Horses Atelier. She lives in Toronto.

Publisher link: https://www.harpercollins.ca/9781554685509/heartbreaker/

Miller KD_Late Breaking

K.D. Miller, Late BreakingBiblioasis

Inspired by the work of Alex Colville, the linked stories in K.D. Miller’s Late Breaking form a suite of portraits that evoke the paintings’ looming atmospheres and uncanny stillness while traveling deeply into their subjects’ vividly imagined lives. Throughout, the collection bears witness to the vulnerability of the elder heart, revealing that love, sex, and heartbreak are not only the domain of the young, and deftly rendering the conflicts that divide us and the ties that bind.

Husbands and wives struggle to communicate, romantic relationships flare and falter, parents and children navigate their complicated feelings, and older women struggle with diminishing status in a youth-obsessed culture while the threat of violence haunts young women and girls. Yet as the stories intersect and the characters’ lives are increasingly entwined, fear, guilt, estrangement, and the fact of death are met by courage, redemption and the fragile beauty of love, in all its myriad guises.

Brilliantly observed, both tender and tortured, and in no way afraid of the dark, these stories confirm K.D. Miller as one of our best and bravest writers.

Miller KD

K.D. Miller’s short stories have been nominated for the Journey Prize, published widely in Canadian magazines, and broadcast by the CBC. She has published four collections of stories, a collection of personal essays, and a novel. Give Me Your Answer was shortlisted for the inaugural Upper Canada Brewing Company’s Writer’s Craft Award, and named by the Toronto Star as one of the ten best books of 1999. All Saints was shortlisted for the 2014 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and names as one of the ten best books of the year by the Globe and Mail.

Publisher link: http://biblioasis.com/shop/new-release/late-breaking/

Toews Miriam_Women Talking

Miriam Toews, Women Talking, Knopf Canada

The sun rises on a quiet June morning in 2009. August Epp sits alone in the hayloft of a barn, anxiously bent over his notebook. He writes quickly, aware that his solitude will soon be broken. Eight women--ordinary grandmothers, mothers and teenagers; yet to August, each one extraordinary-- will climb the ladder into the loft, and the day's true task will begin. This task will be both simple and subversive: August, like the women, is a traditional Mennonite, and he has been asked to record a secret conversation.

Thus begins Miriam Toews' spellbinding novel. Gradually, as we hear the women's vivid voices console, tease, admonish, regale and debate each other, we piece together the reason for the gathering: they have forty-eight hours to make a life-altering choice on behalf of all the women and children in the colony. And like a vast night sky coming into view behind the bright sparks of their voices, we learn of the devastating events that have led to this moment.

Acerbic, funny, tender, sorrowful and wise, Women Talking is composed of equal parts humane love and deep anger. It is award-winning writer Miriam Toews' most astonishing novel to date, containing within its two short days and hayloft setting an expansive, timeless universe of thinking and feeling about women--and men--in our contemporary world.

Toews Miriam

Miriam Toews is the author of six previous bestselling novels: Summer of My Amazing LuckA Boy of Good BreedingA Complicated Kindness (Canada Reads 2006, Canada Reads Canadian Bestseller of the Decade 2010), The Flying Troutmans, All My Puny Sorrows, and Irma Voth, and one work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life.  She is a winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Writers Trust Marian Engel/Timothy Findley Award. She lives in Toronto. 

Publisher link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/562880/women-talking-by-miriam-toews/9780735273962

English Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award For Poetry

Benaway_Gwen_Holy Wild

Gwen Benaway, Holy Wild, Book*hug Press

In her third collection of poetry, Holy Wild, Gwen Benaway explores the complexities of being an Indigenous trans woman in expansive lyric poems. She holds up the Indigenous trans body as a site of struggle, liberation, and beauty. A confessional poet, Benaway narrates her sexual and romantic intimacies with partners as well as her work to navigate the daily burden of transphobia and violence. She examines the intersections of Indigenous and trans experience through autobiographical poems and continues to speak to the legacy of abuse, violence, and colonial erasure that defines Canada. Her sparse lines, interwoven with English and Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe), illustrate the wonder and power of Indigenous trans womanhood in motion. Holy Wild is not an easy book, as Benaway refuses to give any simple answers, but it is a profoundly vibrant and beautiful work filled with a transcendent grace.

Benaway Gwen

Gwen Benaway is of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has published two collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead and Passages. A Two-Spirited Trans poet, she has been described as the spiritual love child of Tomson Highway and Anne Sexton. She has received many distinctions and awards, including the Dayne Ogilvie Honour of Distinction for Emerging Queer Authors from the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Her poetry and essays have been published in national publications and anthologies, including The Globe and MailMaclean’s MagazineCBC Arts, and many others. She was born in Wingham, Ontario and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario.

Publisher link: https://bookhugpress.ca/shop/books/holy-wild-by-gwen-benaway/

Howell Stevie_I left nothing inside on purpose

Stevie Howell, I left nothing inside on purpose, McClelland & Stewart

Poems of stringent aesthetic demands and volcanic emotional release make up Stevie Howell's wondrous I left nothing inside on purpose. These poems--bewildering in their linguistic beauty--verge on prayer in their intense plea to be truly seen by another, a sort of devotional sequence addressing the psychological construct of attachment. Can we change? Has anyone ever changed? Does it matter? Lives marred by injury and violence, both physical and psychic, emerge in the book as meditations on trust, endurance, faith, destruction, and love. Howell's voice combines ferocious intimacy and moral rigour with precision and compassion.

The Hawaiian surf, the neuropsychologist's lab, the deliriums of social media, and the recovery room. From geology to theology, lyric pain to the contemplative mind of the quasi-saint, I left nothing inside on purpose is a deeply affecting, glittering analysis of who we are when we claim to be ourselves in the world.

Howell Stevie

Stevie Howell is an Irish-Canadian writer, critic, and editor. Her first collection of poetry, Sharps, was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Stevie's poetry has appeared in U.S. publications, including BOAATPrelude, and Gigantic Sequins; in Canadian publications, including HazlittThe Walrus, and Maisonneuve; and in overseas publications including The RialtoThe Moth, and Southword. She has written literary criticism for The RumpusPloughshares, and the Globe and Mail. Stevie Howell is the poetry editor at THIS Magazine, and is an MFA candidate in creative writing at NYU.

Publisher link: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/551303/i-left-nothing-inside-on-purpose-by-stevie-howell/9780771039034

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

French Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award

Doom Alain_Un quai entre deux mondes

Alain Doom, Un quai entre deux mondes, Prise de parole

A man and a woman play a game of seduction that will lead them to reveal their deepest secrets. On the ocean, a boat, a dock or even the cold kitchen floor, SHE and HE find themselves in the space between memory and fantasy, memento and chalk drawing, childhood and old age and departure and leaping into the unknown. So they will try to escape a past that's crushing them, stopping them from fully experiencing the spontaneity of their desire.

An obsessive universe on the stage, Un quai entre deux mondes explores uprooting and putting down roots as two pipe dreams that beguile us with lies and illusions.

Doom Alain

Alain Doom, actor and playwright, is director of the Francophone theatre program at Laurentian University in Sudbury. His first play, Un neurinome sur une balançoire (Prise de parole), won the Prix Émergence AAOF and was a Trillium Book Award finalist. A prolific actor, Alain Doom's work has been acclaimed, notably in Frères d’hiver by Michel Ouellette and Molière's L’école des femmes. He received the Prix littéraire Le Droit for his performance in Du pépin à la fissure by Patrice Desbiens. 

Publisher link: https://www.prisedeparole.ca/titres-livre/?id=566

Latour Gilles_A la merci de letoile

Gilles Latour, À la merci de l'étoile, Les Éditions L'Interligne

A speck of stardust lost among the galaxies, the human still bumbles along under the illusion of being the centre of the world, but his wildest dreams are only the tiny sparks from the blazing furnaces of the constellations. 

With this flamboyant collection of prose poems, Gilles Latour gives us a glimpse of the explosive potential of each being and reminds us that our destiny, individual and collective, could be a spell or like a collapse.

Latour Gilles

Gilles Latour, who holds a Master's degree in French literature, has published three poetry collections with Les Éditions L'Interligne, including Mots qu'elle a faits terre in 2015, finalist for a Trillium Book Award, the Prix littéraire Le Droit and an Ottawa Book Award.

Publisher link: https://interligne.ca/produit/a-merci-de-letoile/

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/

Malette Yvon_Entre le risque et le reve

Yvon Malette, Entre le risque et le rêve, Éditions David

Yvon Malette chooses to evoke some memories here, not to dedicate them to posterity or for the sake of nostalgia but to bring some eras back to life: his childhood in a Franco-Ontarian village and then his adulthood in the Ottawa area, a turbulent trip that led him to living out a dream that has been a little bit crazy and risky in many regards: founding a publishing house in a language minority environment.  These parallel stories, the author's and Éditions David's, wonderfully illustrate the desire that has always motivated him to "vivre debout" [stand tall], as Gilles Vigneault put it so well, and to continue to affirm, his language and culture at all costs. Entre le risque et le rêve : Une brève histoire des Éditions David is an essential book that describes the path of a proud Franco-Ontarian, occasionally a maverick but always dedicated to achieving his dreams despite the risks and nay-saying.

Malette Yvon

Professor, entrepreneur, author and publisher, Yvon Malette taught literature for more than 30 years at the University of Ottawa and Cégep de l’Outaouais. In 1993, he founded Éditions David and published in rapid succession L’autoportrait mythique de Gabrielle Roy and Grand-mère racontait…, the two works that marked the birth of the publishing house. He ran the company until 2008 after having published nearly 200 titles in 15 years.

Publisher link: http://editionsdavid.com/products-page/entre-le-risque-et-le-reve/

enard David_Pupee de rouille

David Ménard, Poupée de rouille, Les Éditions L'Interligne

From the depths of her dungeon, Marie-Josephte Corriveau, called "La Corriveau," waits for death and reminisces about the events that led to her downfall, especially her passionate first encounter with her second husband, Louis-Étienne Dodier, and the nebulous circumstances of his death. Fascinated by those left out of the history books, David Ménard's poetry revisits the myth of that witch in Canadian folklore and and injects her with enough humanity and passion to make her an amazingly modern character.

 Menard David

David Ménard has published a novel, Nous aurons vécu nous non plus, and two poetry collections with Les Éditions L’Interligne. Neuvaines, which won two major literary awards, has been adapted for the stage at Théâtre du Trillium.

Publisher link: https://interligne.ca/produit/poupee-de-rouille/

French Language Finalists - Trillium Book Award for Children

Pierre-Luc Belanger_L'Odyssee des neiges


Pierre-Luc Bélanger, L'Odyssée des neiges, Éditions David

A young and talented hockey player, Théo Marchand aspires to nothing short of an NHL career. Nothing can stop this Ottawa teenager with a slightly swollen head until a serious accident ends his dream. The bad news in his life keeps coming. His parents separate, and he moves to Sudbury with his mother, where he gets an old snowmobile that had belonged to his grandfather. With help from his new friends, Alexis and Sophie, Théo gets it working again. Once winter arrives, the teenagers register for a big race, the Snow Odyssey, which is a long circuit through northern Ontario. The competition will be full of obstacles, and emotions will be high. In his fourth novel, both moving and captivating, Pierre-Luc Bélanger shows us how friendship and courage overcome the most terrible trials.

Pierre-Luc Belanger


Born in Ottawa, Pierre-Luc Bélanger went to the University of Ottawa, where he earned a Master's degree in French and history before going on to earn a Master's degree in educational leadership. Since then, he has been a high school French teacher and literacy teaching advisor for an Ottawa school board.

Publisher link: http://editionsdavid.com/2018/11/lodyssee-neiges-pierre-luc-belanger/



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/

Marchildon Daniel_Otages de la nature    

Daniel Marchildon, Otages de la nature, Éditions David

Alex, age 17, and his mother, Fleur Monague, an Anishinaabe author-composer, live in Rivière-Ahmic, a village in northern Ontario where Fleur was born. Fleur wants to restart her career by participating in a show organized by a group of environmentalists fighting to protect sacred dunes threatened by logging. Alex meets Danika Copecog, an Anishinaabe who will introduce him to the secrets of nature.

Events take an expected twist, but Alex and his mother extend their stay in the community torn by the extreme tension between the environmentalists and the loggers. There's a reaction to a desperate gesture to save the forest from the chainsaws, and each side begins to flirt with danger.

To what lengths will Alex, his mother and Danika go to save the forest?

A novelist and screenwriter who's very attached to his Ontario roots, Daniel Marchildon offers us an uplifting story here that challenges our environmental conscience and openness to other cultures.

Marchildon Daniel     

Daniel Marchildon lives in Lafontaine, Ontario, his native area. A multi-talented writer, he has 20 publications, several of which are historical novels and youth novels. In the 14-18 collection, he has already published a novel, La première guerre de Toronto, which won him a 2011 Trillium Book Award for Children's Literature.

Publisher link: http://editionsdavid.com/2018/02/otages-nature-daniel-marchildon/