You could win the entire collection of English-language Trillium Book Award nominees. One winner will be chosen at random, just enter your email address to win!
Check out the gallery below for the English-language Trillium Book Award nominees, and make sure to visit the Trillium Awards for a complete list of this year’s nominees.
Join us June 16, 2014 at a Public Authors Reading Event taking place at the Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., Toronto. Several of the shortlisted authors for the Trillium Book Award will read from their nominated titles. There is no admission fee—it is first come, first seated. Doors will open to the public at 6:30 p.m., and the readings will commence at 7:00 p.m. Register your attendance.
English Language Finalists for the Trillium Book Award
Craig Davidson (Toronto), Cataract City
Cataract City is a tourist town with a hold over those born within its borders, a place with more to it than first meets the eye. Owen Stuckey and Duncan Diggs are born and bred in Cataract City. They grow into men who dream of escape, a longing made more urgent by a traumatic childhood incident that cemented their friendship. But in adulthood, their paths diverge: Owen stays above the law, becoming a police officer, while Duncan sinks deep into the town’s underworld. Inevitably, the two find themselves pitched against each other. At stake are not only survival and the possibility of escape, but their lifelong bond, which is once again tested against the haunting wilderness just outside city lines.
Barry Dempster (Holland Landing), The Outside World
Set in 1966 in a Toronto suburb, The Outside World follows Robinson Tedley, a teenager, whose mother is an agoraphobic who spends most of her time peering at the neighbours from her living room window, whose mentally challenged sister wants nothing more than to be outside in sunshine and whose father is perpetually oblivious to the tensions within his home. How can Robbie take care of his mother and his roaming sister when he’s got so much to contend with in the outside world? Girls, love, sex, school. Bullies and friendships and growing pains, the force of his own fears and anger. Pressing against Robbie’s own difficulties are the troubles of a conservative 1950s mainstream. A dark and engaging coming-of-age story.
Lorna Goodison (Toronto/Half Moon Bay, BC), Supplying Salt and Light
This stunning book of poems opens in Spain and Portugal, conjuring up a new history of the Caribbean and a new way of setting up its heritage. The title sets the tone for poems about backgrounds and outlines and shadows and sources of light. Surprises occur at every turn in the book, as a Moorish mosque becomes a cathedral in Seville, a country girl dresses in Sunday clothes to visit a Jamaican bookmobile, and a bear appears suddenly, only to slip away silently into the trees on a road in British Columbia. The heartache of Billie Holiday singing the blues, the burden of Charlie Chaplin tramping the banana walks of Jamaica’s Golden Cloud, and the paintings of El Greco come together on the poet’s pilgrimage to Heartease, inspired by the passage-making of Dante; the book ends with a superb version of the first of his cantos, translated into the poet’s Jamaican language and landscape with the gift of love.
Helen Humphreys (Kingston), Nocturne
Helen Humphreys’ younger brother, Martin, was diagnosed with stage 4B pancreatic cancer at the age of forty-five, he died four months later, leaving behind a grieving family. An extraordinary pianist who debuted at the Royal Festival Hall in London at the age of twenty, he became a piano teacher and senior examiner at the Royal Conservatory of Music. The two siblings, though often living far apart, were bonded on many levels. Humphreys has written a deeply felt, haunting memoir both about and for her brother. She lays bare their secrets, their disagreements, their early childhood together, and their intense though unspoken love for each other. A memoir of grief, an honest self-examination in the face of profound pain, this is a poetic, candid and intimate book.
Hannah Moscovitch (Toronto/Halifax), This is War
An insightful and emotional look into the embittered psyche of soldiers in the aftermath of combat. Master Corporal Tanya Young, Captain Stephen Hughes, Private Jonny Henderson, and Sergeant Chris Anders have lived through an atrocity while holding one of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan. As each of them is interviewed by an unseen broadcasting organization, they recount their version of events leading up to the horrific incident with painful, relenting replies. What begins to form is a picture of the effects of guilt and the psychological toll of violence in a war where the enemy is sometimes indiscernible.
Peter Unwin (Toronto), Life Without Death and Other Stories
In this short story collection, ordinary people search for meaning in lives subject to change, chance, coincidence, and catastrophe. A man recalls a lifetime of love and loss while copying contacts out of his old little black book. A woman is left to dispose of her dying father’s secret stash of pornography. A new father discovers a way of connecting to his autistic son. For one day, guests to a wedding set aside their past misdeeds to celebrate a young couple’s union. A teenager introduced to a life of petty crime suddenly finds himself in way over his head. A man’s former acquaintance resurfaces decades later as the subject of a haunting art film. Unwin’s characters live full, complex lives within each story. Though they may not find the simple answers they seek, they gain great perspective on their journeys.
English Language Finalists For The Trillium Book Award For Poetry
Austin Clarke (Toronto), Where the Sun Shines Best
Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry, this work encompasses a tragedy of epic scope, a lyrical meditation on poverty, racism and war, and a powerful indictment of the ravages of imperialism. Three Canadian soldiers awaiting deployment to Afghanistan beat a homeless man to death on the steps of their armoury after a night of heavy drinking. The poet, whose downtown Toronto home overlooks the armoury and surrounding park, describes the crime, its perpetrators, the victim, and a cast of homeless witnesses. The subsequent trial evokes reflection on the immigrant experience the poet shares with one of the accused, and on the agony of that young soldier’s mother.
Adam Dickinson (St. Catharines), The Polymers
The Polymers is a bold new work from one of our most ambitious poetic minds. Structured as an imaginary science project, the varied pieces in this collection investigate the intersection of poetry and chemicals, specifically plastics, attempting to understand their essential role in culture. Through various procedures, constraints, and formal mutations, the poems express the repeating structures fundamental to plastic molecules as they appear in cultural and linguistic behaviours such as arguments, anxieties, and trends. A wildly experimental and chemically reactive work, The Polymers thrills and provokes. You’ll never look at the world of a poem—or the world itself—in the same way again.
Souvankham Thammavongsa (Stouffville), Light
Souvankham Thammavongsa’s third book of poetry, Light, examines the word that gives the collection its name. There are poems about a sparkle, about how to say light, about a scarecrow, a dung beetle, a fish without eyes. Known for her precision and elegance, for her small clear voice, for distilling meaning from details, for not wasting words, Thammavongsa confirms her gifts with these new poems. Light is a work that shines with rigour, humour, courage and grit.