Arts & Entertainment
1 min

Gays shortlisted for GG’s literary awards

Mariko Tamaki, Ronnie Burkett get nods

The Canada Council for the Arts today announced the finalists for the 2008 Governor General’s Literary Awards, and a few notable gay and lesbian writers are on the shortlist.

The winners will be announced on Tue, Nov 18 in Montreal. Each winner will receive $25,000 and a specially-bound copy of the winning book.

The full list of 73 finalists is available at Here are some of the shortlisted queer writers:


Children’s literature – text

Mariko Tamaki, Skim
“Skim is an audacious and original graphic novel set in a girls’ private school. Skim, a slightly lumpy Kimberly Cameron, stumbles around the edges of cliques, depression, sexuality, suicide, crushes and an achingly ambiguous love. The story is heart-breakingly fresh and, in the end, a small celebration of life.”

Check out Xtra’s cover story on Tamaki and her graphic novel, Skim. She describes Skim as a “gothic Lolita lesbian story.”

Starting this month, Tamaki began writing a monthly-column for Check out her first piece, A case for erotica.



Ronnie Burkett, 10 Days on Earth
“Ronnie Burkett’s 10 Days on Earth unsentimentally explores the ache of loneliness. A middle-aged, intellectually-challenged man continues to live with his dead mother, not realizing she has passed in her sleep. Amazingly, this play doesn’t dip into sadness. Rather, it celebrates our ability to survive tragedy, touching readers with beautiful imagery and powerful poetry.”

Read a Capital Xtra profile of Burkett.


French Fiction

Marie-Claire Blais, Naissance de Rebecca à l’ère des tourments
“Marie-Claire Blais gives us a powerful song that overlays and complements the chaos of our time. Her keen observation of human beings shows that despite all evidence to the contrary, they still have the capacity for survival, modulation and the invention of a world that is learning to be. A wonderfully woven story that unfolds like the triumph of literature over the torments of our century.”