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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Gwen Benaway

Gwen Benaway_Author Photo_Credit

Next up in our special 2019 Governor General’s Award edition of The Chat is our conversation with Gwen Benaway. Her collection Holy Wild won this year’s Governor General’s Award for Poetry.

Ed note: This post has been updated in light of an investigation into Gwen Benaway's claims of Indigenous identity. Benaway has not, at the time of this writing, responded to evidence that she has misrepresented her status. We have removed all references to that claimed identity so that it does not continue to occupy space in Indigenous literature.

Gwen Benaway is the author of previous poetry collections Ceremonies for the Dead and Passage. Holy Wild was also named a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry, and the Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender-Variant Literature, and longlisted for the Pat Lowther Memorial Award. Benaway is also the editor of an anthology of fantasy short stories titled Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. She has been a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ writers from the Writers' Trust of Canada, and her personal essay, "A Body Like A Home," was the Gold Prize Winner for the National Magazine Awards in Personal Journalism. day/break, her fourth book of …

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The Chat with Governor General's Literary Award Winner Linda Gaboriau

Linda Gaboriau

Over the next month, we’ll be interviewing all seven English-language winners of this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards. We begin our coverage in conversation with renowned translator Linda Gaboriau, winner of the 2019 Governor General’s Award for Translation. She won this year’s award for Birds of a Kind, her translation of Wajdi Mouawad’s play Tous des oiseaux (originally published in French by Leméac/Actes Sud-Papiers).

Praising her work, the jury says, "This translation artfully captures the constantly shifting identities and tones that form the core of this controversial play. With pitch perfect, evocative precision, Gaboriau once again shows her faultless grasp of the emotional and intellectual complexities and nuances of translating for the stage and, in particular, Mouawad’s brilliant, challenging work."

Linda Gaboriau is a literary translator and dramaturg. She has translated more than 125 plays, including those of some of Quebec’s foremost playwrights, which have been published and produced on both Canadian and international stages. She has received many awards for her work, namely two previous Governor General’s Literary Awards for Translation (Stone and Ashes, 1996, and Forests, 2010). Linda was the founding director of the Ba …

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So Many Writers, All in One Place


One of the best things we ever did at 49th Shelf was asking Trevor Corkum to join our team to lead the interview series, The Chat. For the past two years, Trevor has been talking with some of Canada's most exciting writers about their books and the stories behind them, and while you can always check to see the latest instalments at, this post groups all the interviews to date for your ready reference.

Thanks to Trevor for this tremendous body of work, and stay tuned for Trevor's interviews with both 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize and Governor General's Literary Award finalists!


Jordan Abel (Injun)

Carmen Aguirre (Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter)

André Alexis (Fifteen Dogs)

Karim Alrawi (Book of Sands)

Samuel Archibald (Arvida)

Mona Awad (13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl)

Gary Barwin (Yiddish for Pirates)

Kris Bertin (Bad Things Happen)

Paul Carlucci (A Plea for Constant Motion)

Michael Christie (If I Fall, If I Die)

Rachel Cusk (Outline)

Farzana Doctor (All Inclusive)

Emma Donoghue (The Wonder)

Anne Fleming (The Goat)

Brett Josef Grubisic (From Up River and For One Night Only)

Kevin Hardcastle (In the Cage)

Michael Harris (Solitude)

Teva Harrison (In-Between Days)

Steven Heighton (The Waking Comes Late)

Catherine Hernandez (Scarboroug …

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