2023 Governor General’s Book Award Finalists

Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners of the Governor General’s Book Awards! Browse the LPG member finalists in the categories of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, and translation, below.

All Books in this Collection

Showing all 12 results

  • Baby Book

    Baby Book


    2023 Governor General’s Award for Poetry Finalist* Longlisted 2024 Gerald Lampert Award

    “God is personal,” the astrologer said. Terrifying and also personal, like a baby.

    Direct and humorous, Baby Book stacks story upon story to explore how beliefs are first formed. From a family vacation on a discount bus tour to a cosmogony based on cheese, these poems accumulate around principles of contingency and revelation. Amy Ching-Yan Lam describes the vivid tactility of growth and death — how everything is constantly, painfully remade — offering a vision against the stuck narratives of property and inheritance. Power is located in the senses, in wind: multiple and restless.

  • Forgiveness



    Mitsue Sakamoto and Ralph MacLean both suffered tremendous loss during WWII: Mitsue as a survivor of a Japanese Canadian internment camp, and Ralph as a prisoner in a Japanese POW camp. In order to rebuild their lives and their families after the war, Ralph and Mitsue must find the grace and generosity necessary to forgive those who have wronged them. Their paths eventually cross in 1968 when Mitsue’s son and Ralph’s daughter begin dating, and Ralph is invited to Mitsue’s home for dinner.

    This soaring adaptation of Mark Sakamoto’s award-winning memoir affirms the power of forgiveness and shows us that in our challenging times characterized by political divisiveness, xenophobia, and race hatred, the story of Mitsue and Ralph’s personal triumphs over hatred, injustice, violence, and bigotry remains vitally relevant and urgently necessary.

  • Gendered Islamophobia

    Gendered Islamophobia


    Finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, Non-fiction, 2023

    This passionate book describes the author’s struggles as a hijab-wearing Muslim woman, who was born and raised in Tunisia, where she attended university before coming to Quebec, Canada as an immigrant. Mazigh describes her struggles against Islamophobia as it applies to women, especially those wearing hijab, who consistently get stereotyped as silent and compliant women dominated by their men. In great detail she describes this phenomenon, encountered in the streets and public spaces, in universities, and in the media, and she describes similar experiences of other women of different ethnic backgrounds across Canada, and its effects on the victims.

  • House Within a House

    House Within a House


    2023 Governor General’s Literary Award for Literary Translation Finalist * 2023 VMI Betsy Warland Between Genres Award Winner * 2023 Winner John Glassco Prize for Literary Translation

    A meditation on the wiles of depression, illuminated by queer and diasporic experience.

    “We, nosotros, nosotras: somos sobrevivientes.” Weaving prose poetry, essay, autobiography and photography in mutual contamination, Nicholas Dawson relates his own deep depression, a state never fully gone, always cohabitant. Amidst this persistence, “the body and the pen bring a plural syntax of alternative knowledges into being, one which allows us to know the world better, to know ourselves better, to better love daybreak and this sun obstinately piercing the curtain with its brazen rays.”

    House Within a House, in a luminous translation by D.M. Bradford, tells the story of what walls the depressed person in, what keeps them wandering inside, and what finally gets them, somehow, out of the house. The original book, Désormais, ma demeure, received the 2021 Grand Prix du livre de Montréal.

  • Is My Microphone On?

    Is My Microphone On?


    In another life I was a small bubble of foam on a wave coming to shore, and the wave broke, and I burst, and that was it. Before that I was a small stream, for centuries. And in another life I was a mortal girl. Which is this life. After thousands of years, I have a mouth. So if you don’t mind, Mom, Dad, I’m going to speak. I’m going to shout. When I become a human I’m going to use some words. Can you still hear me? Is my microphone on?

    Young people have inherited a burning world. In this urgent and lyrical play, they reckon with the generations who have come before them, questioning the choices that have been made, and the ones that they will yet be forced to make. Is My Microphone On? is a play in the form of a protest song, in which a chorus of young performers hold the audience to account, and invite them to experience the world together anew.

  • Okinum



    In Anishnaabemowin, Okinum means dam. In deciphering a recurring dream about beavers, &#201milie Monnet discovers how to break down interior barriers, to trust in the power of intuition, and to deconstruct cultural walls. A circular and immersive experience that interweaves three languages &#8212 English, French and Anishnaabemowin &#8212 Okinum is an ode to reclaiming language and reconnecting to one’s ancestors.

  • Old Gods

    Old Gods


    Métis Ukrainian writer Conor Kerr’s sharp and incisive poems move restlessly across landscapes and time.Conor Kerr’s poetry is in constant motion. 4Runners streak through the night, racing with coyotes and roving across the land. Buses travel from town to town, from one memory to another, from past to present. Friends and lovers search for each other on Instagram and find nothing. And always the natural world travels alongside: the watching magpies, woodpeckers and cedar waxwings, the coyotes and porcupines. Family is the crisp wings of mallard ducks flying at dawn, just as it is a game of crib, a Mario Kart race, a dance party.Old Gods defies colonialism on the Prairies. Kerr situates his reader in the Métis mindset: the old gods of the land are alive within the rivers, the birds, the hills and the prairies that surround us, and they’ll always be here.

  • Rosa’s Very Own Personal Revolution

    Rosa’s Very Own Personal Revolution


    Rosa Ost grows up in Notre-Dame-du-Cachalot, a tiny village at the end of the world, where two industries are king: paper and Boredom. The only daughter of Terese Ost (a fair-to-middling trade unionist and a first-rate Scrabble player), the fate that befalls Rosa is the focus of this tale of long journeys and longer lives, of impossible deaths, unwavering prophecies, and unsettling dreams as she leaves her village for Montreal on a quest to summon the westerly wind that has proved so vital to the local economy.

    From village gossips, tealeaf-reading exotic dancers, and Acadian red herrings to soothsaying winkles and centuries-old curses, Rosa’s Very Own Personal Revolution is a delightful, boundary-pushing story about stories and the storytellers who make them – and a reminder that revolutions in Quebec aren’t always quiet.

  • The Enchanted Loom

    The Enchanted Loom


    The Sri Lankan civil war has left many scars on Thangan and his family, most noticeably the loss of his eldest son and the crippling epileptic seizures brought on by his torture. As the final days of the war play out, the family bears witness from their new home of Toronto. Thangan’s other son Kanan comes home from a protest, shaken that someone referred to him by his brother’s name. His young daughter Kavitha innocently dances around with a mysterious pair of anklets that she found. And Thangan’s wife Sevi is consumed with feeling responsible for her broken family. Amidst the ongoing trauma, the family is faced with the possibility of Thangan undergoing neurological surgery. Will the surgery give them a chance to heal, or will it cause even more pain?

    Presented in both English and Tamil, this poetic play is both medical and mystical, drawing a connection between trauma and memory that creates a stark reminder of loss, hope, family, and freedom. 

  • The Sleeping Car Porter

    The Sleeping Car Porter













    When a mudslide strands a train, Baxter, a queer Black sleeping car porter, must contend with the perils of white passengers, ghosts, and his secret love affair

    The Sleeping Car Porter brings to life an important part of Black history in North America, from the perspective of a queer man living in a culture that renders him invisible in two ways. Affecting, imaginative, and visceral enough that you’ll feel the rocking of the train, The Sleeping Car Porter is a stunning accomplishment.

    Baxter’s name isn’t George. But it’s 1929, and Baxter is lucky enough, as a Black man, to have a job as a sleeping car porter on a train that crisscrosses the country. So when the passengers call him George, he has to just smile and nod and act invisible. What he really wants is to go to dentistry school, but he’ll have to save up a lot of nickel and dime tips to get there, so he puts up with “George.”

    On this particular trip out west, the passengers are more unruly than usual, especially when the train is stalled for two extra days; their secrets start to leak out and blur with the sleep-deprivation hallucinations Baxter is having. When he finds a naughty postcard of two queer men, Baxter’s memories and longings are reawakened; keeping it puts his job in peril, but he can’t part with the postcard or his thoughts of Edwin Drew, Porter Instructor.

    “Suzette Mayr brings to life –believably, achingly, thrillingly –a whole world contained in a passenger train moving across the Canadian vastness, nearly one hundred years ago. As only occurs in the finest historical novels, every page in The Sleeping Car Porter feels alive and immediate –and eerily contemporary. The sleeping car porter in this sleek, stylish novel is named R.T. Baxter –called George by the people upon whom he waits, as is every other Black porter. Baxter’s dream of one day going to school to learn dentistry coexists with his secret life as a gay man, and in Mayr’s triumphant novel we follow him not only from Montreal to Calgary, but into and out of the lives of an indelibly etched cast of supporting characters, and, finally, into a beautifully rendered radiance.” – 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury

  • War Being Waged, The

    War Being Waged, The


    The War Being Waged is a poetic and unflinchingly truthful examination of what happens when patriotism and sovereignty collide. An Indigenous mother becomes an activist while her brother becomes a soldier. An grandmother speaks to her granddaughter from prison. A granddaughter, filled with turmoil, struggles to accept her family’s history. Three generations of Indigenous women try to connect the pieces of their lives after experiencing all the ways Canada has torn them apart. A mix of three performance genres–monologue, poetry with video and movement, and contemporary dance–are woven together in this stunning work by Winnipeg theatre artist Darla Contois.

  • William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, A Radical Retelling

    William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, A Radical Retelling


    The title of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It holds a double meaning that teasingly suggests the play can please all tastes. But is that possible? With his subversive updating of the Bard’s classic, Indigenous creator and cultural provocateur Cliff Cardinal seeks to find out. The show exults in bawdy humour, difficult subject matter, and raw emotion; Cardinal is not one to hold back when it comes to challenging delicate sensibilities.