Gothic stories, genre-defying memoirs among Trillium Book Award finalists

Hamilton, Ont.-born author Catherine Graham, shown in a handout photo, is nominated for a Trillium Award for her book "Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric," her homage to family and the cancers that unite them.

TORONTO – A gothic collection of stories and two genre-defying memoirs are among this year’s nominees for Ontario’s Trillium Book Award.

Announced Tuesday, the short list includes Grimsby, Ont.-raised Sydney Hegele and their mystical debut short fiction collection “The Pump,” replete with carnivorous beavers and art-eaters, from Invisible Publishing.

Also among the finalists are Toronto-based novelist Brian Francis for his book “Missed Connections: A Memoir in Letters Never Sent,” published by McClelland & Stewart/Penguin Random House, and Hamilton, Ont.-born Catherine Graham for “Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric,” her homage to family and the cancers that unite them, from Buckrider Books/Wolsak & Wynn Publishers.

Rounding out the nominees are “The Hunter and the Old Woman,” by Toronto writer Pamela Korgemagi for House of Anansi Press, and the novel “The Last Exiles,” by poet and filmmaker Ann Shin, also from Toronto, for Park Row/Harlequin Trade Publishing.

This year’s nominees for the Trillium Book Award for poetry include Whitby, Ont.-born poet Roxanna Bennett’s “The Untranslatable I” from Gordon Hill Press; Toronto-based Liz Howard’s “Letters in a Bruised Cosmos” from McClelland & Stewart/Penguin Random House Canada; and Toronto-based Bardia Sinaee’s “Intruder” from House of Anansi Press.

The French-language finalists for the Trillium Book Award include Toronto-based Soufiane Chakkouche’s “Zahra” from Éditions David; Québec-born Marie-Hélène Larochelle’s “Je suis le courant la vase” from Leméac Éditeur; Ottawa, Ont.-born Michèle Vinet’s “Le malaimant” from Éditions L’Interligne; Sudbury, Ont.-born Robert Marinier’s “Un conte de l’apocalypse” from Éditions Prise de parole; and Ottawa, Ont-born Marie-Thé Morin “Errances,” also from Éditions Prise de parole.

The French-language nominees for the Trillium Book Award for poetry are Montreal-born Sylvie Bérard for “À croire que j’aime les failles” and Northern Ontario-born Sonia-Sophie Courdeau’s “Ce qui reste sans contour,” both from Éditions Prise de parole, along with Sudbury, Ont.-born Chloé LaDuchesse’s “Exosquelette” from Mémoire d’encrier.

After two years of being handed out virtually, the awards will be announced at an in-person event on June 21 that will also honour past nominees and winners who didn’t have the option to attend a gala.

This also marks the 35th anniversary of the award, which recognizes literary excellence across Ontario.

Trillium Book Award winners each receive $20,000, while their respective publishers receive $2,500 to promote the winning titles.

Meanwhile, winners in the poetry categories receive $10,000, and their publishers receive $2,000.

Previous Trillium winners have included Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Souvankham Thammavongsa and Timothy Findley.

The Trillium Book Award was established in 1987 and is presented by Ontario Creates, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2022.

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