2023 Trillium Book Award Winners
WINNER | Trillium Book Award (English)
Stuart Ross, The Book of Grief and Hamburgers, ECW Press
A poignant meditation on mortality from a beloved Canadian poet.
A writer friend once pointed out that whenever Stuart Ross got close to something heavy and “real” in a poem, a hamburger would inevitably appear for comic relief. In this hybrid essay/memoir/poetic meditation, Ross shoves aside the heaping plate of burgers to wrestle with what it means to grieve the people one loves and what it means to go on living in the face of an enormous accumulation of loss. Written during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, shortly after the sudden death of his brother left him the last living member of his family and as a catastrophic diagnosis meant anticipating the death of his closest friend, this meditation on mortality — a kind of literary shiva — is Ross’s most personal book to date. More than a catalogue of losses, The Book of Grief and Hamburgers is a moving act of resistance against self-annihilation and a desperate attempt to embrace all that was good in his relationships with those most dear to him.
Stuart Ross is the author of 20 books of fiction, poetry, and essays. He received the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize, the 2017 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry, and the 2010 ReLit Award for Short Fiction. His work has been translated into Nynorsk, French, Spanish, Estonian, Slovenian and Russian. Stuart lives in Cobourg, Ontario.
Publisher Link: https://ecwpress.com/products/book-of-grief-and-hamburgers
WINNER | TRILLIUM BOOK AWARD (FRENCH)
Gilles Lacombe, Circé des hirondelles, Éditions L'Interligne
Circé des hirondelles is centred around the relationship between two characters: the on who forms a portrait of elle, a feminine identity, an allegorical figure of life itself that embodies fragility, beauty, death, nature, poetry, and language all at once. It is a sad and silky song, a ravageuse magnificence.
Gilles Lacombe is a visual artist (painter and designer) and poet. He has written the collections Mais ailleurs que le vent
(2013) and Trafiquante de lumière
(2005) published by Éditions L’Interligne. Neige-galerie published Broderies du Michoacan in 2014.
Link to publisher’s website [French only]: https://interligne.ca/auteurs-auteures/gilles-lacombe/circe-des-hirondelles/
WINNER | TRILLIUM BOOK AWARD FOR POETRY (ENGLISH)
Sanna Wani, My Grief, the Sun, House of Anansi Press
In Sanna Wani’s poems, each verse is ode and elegy. The body is the page, time is a friend, and every voice, a soul. Sharply political and frequently magical, these often-intimate poems reach for everything from Hayao Miyazaki’s 1997 film Princess Mononoke to German Orientalist scholarship on early Islam. From concrete to confessional, exegesis to erasure, the Missinnihe river in Canada to the Zabarwan mountains in Kashmir, My Grief, the Sun undoes genre, listens carefully to the planet’s breathing, addresses an endless and ineffable you, and promises enough joy and sorrow to keep growing.
Sanna Wani loves daisies. Her work has appeared in Brick, Poem-A-Day (poets.org), and Best Canadian Poetry 2020. She lives in Mississauga, Ontario, and Srinagar, Kashmir. This is her first collection of poetry.
Publisher Link: https://houseofanansi.com/products/my-grief-the-sun
WINNER | TRILLIUM BOOK AWARD FOR CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
Michèle Laframboise, Le secret de Paloma, Éditions David
Trapped on a planet where the air pressure drops drastically after the sun goes down, a human colony somehow survives behind an airtight curtain.
When Alouette discovers her best friend’s body in the desert, everybody laments what appears to be a suicide. Consumed by guilt, the young girl wants to know what pushed the cheerful Paloma to go out into the dunes. A heartache? A disagreement? Mysteriously, the diary that could deliver these answers has disappeared.
Could her friend’s death have something to do with the orbit of Troll, an evil comet whose tail bombards the planet with meteorites? What Alouette discovers will change the colony forever…
Both oppressive and uplifting, Le secret de Paloma raises the issues of responsibility, secrets too heavy to share, friendship, and forgiveness within a society in survival mode.
Michèle Laframboise lives in Mississauga, in Southwestern Ontario, where she divides her time between drawing, writing, and her family. With a scientific background, she has established herself as a science fiction author, concocting, with pen or brush, captivating stories set in mysterious worlds. To date, she has published around 20 novels and comic book albums as well as numerous short stories, which have earned her several distinctions and literary prizes.
Link to publisher’s website [French only]: https://editionsdavid.com/livres/fiche-livre/?titre=le-secret-de-paloma&ISBN=9782895977827