Skip To Content
Photos provided by: Canada Council for the Arts

Story time! The Canada Council for the Arts reveals the finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards

By Shireen Agharazi-Dormani on November 16, 2021

“One more chapter,” you lie to yourself. And can anyone blame you? The last chapter ended on a cliff-hanger; the gall! You need to know what happens next while you’re still awake.

If you find yourself in that position often, then chances are you’re also excited to find out who will win this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGBooks).

On Nov. 17, 2021, the Canada Council for the Arts will reveal the 2021 finalists for one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. The Canada Council’s peer assessment committees follow a thorough process and have chosen 70 books (in English and French) to have been the best this year. The 14 winners (seven categories each in English and French) will be announced on ggbooks.ca.

Rebecca Salazar, author of Sulphurtongue. Photo provided by The Canada Council for the Arts.

“Each time we prepare to unveil the Governor General’s Literary Awards, which recognize and celebrate some of the year’s greatest works of literature from Canada, I am struck by the talent, imagination and creativity of the individuals who bring these books into our lives.” says Simon Brault, Director and CEO of Canada Council for the Arts, in a press release.

The Canada Council for the Arts contributes to the creativity and diversity of the arts and literary scene, supporting its presence across Canada and around the world. They’re Canada’s public arts funder authorized to “foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts.”

The Council supports all kinds of Canadian artists and authors with grants, initiatives, payments, and much more, allowing these creative groups and individuals to produce and promote works of art and literature. They cultivate the flourishing engagement of Canadian and international audiences in the arts through its art funding, research, promotions, and communications. The Council’s Public Lending Right (PLR) program makes annual payments to creators whose works are held in Canadian public libraries.

Larry Audlaluk, author of What I Remember, What I Know: The Life of a High Arctic Exile. Photo provided by The Canada Council for the Arts.

“Given the many challenges we’ve all faced over the past nineteen months, I am especially grateful and humbled to honour these authors and their work,” says Brault.

These 70 books are separated into seven categories, in both English and French, based on genre: fiction, poetry, drama, non-fiction, young people’s literature (text), young people’s literature (illustrated books), and translation (from English to French or vice versa, depending on the category’s original language). If you’re interested in seeing the finalists for each genre and language, you can go to the Governor General’s Literary Awards website.

Peer assessment committees that are both category-specific and language-based (seven in each language) select the finalists.The English-language books are written sometime between Sept. 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021. For French-language books, between July 1, 2020, and July 31, 2021. Each finalist will receive $1,000; winners, $25,000 each, with the publisher obtaining $3,000 to promote the winning book.

Liselle Sambury, author of Blood Like Magic. Photo credit: Stuart W.

“Literature can serve many purposes and in the midst of these uncertain times,” says Brault. “As we witness the ongoing transformation of our society, I trust in the power of these incredible books to heal, connect and continue to move us forward.”


The winners in each category of the GGBooks Awards will be announced Nov. 17, 2021.