We continue our Governor General’s Literature Awards coverage in conversation with Kim Senklip Harvey, whose work Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story (Talonbooks) won in the category of drama.
According to the Peer Assessment Committee, “The brilliance, the irreverence, the fire of Kamloopa sweeps us into the world of three Indigenous women on a mind-bending quest. The audience is seduced by the love, humour and depth of these matriarchs as they embrace and celebrate who they are in the world and with each other. A play that will encourage you to re-evaluate your relationship with Canada.”
Kim Senklip Harvey is a proud Syilx and Tsilhqot’in and an Indigenous theorist, a cultural evolutionist and an award-winning writer and director whose work focuses on igniting Indigenous power by creating comedic and joy-centred narratives that nourish her people’s spirits. She is currently working on the development of two television series: her Salish love story, On the Plateau, and the adaptation of her play, Kamloopa. She is also completing her first prose and poetry book, Interiors: A Collection of NDN Dirtbag Love Stories, and is in pre-production to film a musical feature of her next artistic ceremony, Break Horizons: A Rocking Indigenous Justice Ceremony. S …
Renowned CBC radio host Amanda Parris is this year’s Governor General’s Award winner for Drama for Other Side of the Game (Playwrights Canada Press).
The jury praised the work, saying, “Other Side of the Game courageously examines the struggles of young Black women and their loved ones as they navigate an unjust system. Parris crafts a portrait of the early years of Black activism, and parallels it with the present day. Enraging and engaging, this gripping and passionate play challenges dominant narratives to reveal the painful truths of life for marginalized Canadians in our society.”
By day, Amanda Parris is a television and radio host and writes a weekly column. By night, she writes stories for the stage and screen. Other Side of the Game is her first published play. In Amanda’s past lives she was an educator who wrote arts-based curricula, attended numerous acting auditions and dreamed of opening a school that Blue Ivy Carter would attend. Over the course of her career, Amanda has worn a variety of hats, working as an educator, a researcher, an actor and a community organizer.
She is the co-founder of the award-winning alternative education organization Lost Lyrics and worked with the Remix Project and the Manifesto Festival. She has spoken about he …
The Birds That Stay is Ann Lambert's first novel, a murder mystery set in a small village in the Laurentians, north of Montreal. And Lambert brings to her first book more than two decades of experience as a theatre direction, playwright, and English teacher, all of which inform her novel, and in this recommended reading list she shares works that have similarly served as a foundation for her, both as a reader and as a writer.
Although narrowing the list down wasn't easy...
How do I isolate ten books to recommend from the range and depth of Canadian literature? How do I not include Barometer Rising, The Tin Flute, The Wars, Le Matou, Unless, A Complicated Kindness, A Fine Balance, The Life of Pi, The Book of Negroes, Lullabies for Little Criminals, The Tiger, The Break and so many other terrific books? I decided to select books by Canadian writers whose work prompted a watershed moment for me, over a lifetime of reading.
The Diviners, by Margaret Laurence
This was the complete novel for me. It told the story of a woman, Morag Gunn, who migrated fr …
New year, new books! The first half of 2019 promises glorious literary delights, and we begin our Spring Preview with a spotlight on fiction.
André Alexis's latest is Days By Moonlight (February), "a journey through an underworld that looks like southern Ontario, a journey taken during the 'hour of the wolf,' that time of day when the sun is setting and the traveller can't tell the difference between dog and wolf, a time when the world and the imagination won't stay in their own lanes." Watcher in the Woods (February) is the latest thriller in Kelley Armstrong’s City of the Lost series. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale gets adapted again, this time into a graphic novel (March) with illustrations by Renée Nault. A spellbinding, down-the-rabbit-hole tale about loneliness and belonging, creativity and agency, female friendship and desire, Bunny (June) is Mona Awad's second book after her acclaimed 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl. Bestselling and award-winning author Todd Babiak returns with The Empress of Idaho (April), an immersive and affecting story about a teenager’s fascination with an enigmatic new woman in town whose past is catching up with her.
Jordan Tannahill is no stranger to the Governor General’s Awards. Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom marks his second GG's win in the drama category.
The peer assessment committee says, “Jordan Tannahill’s two-play volume explores the fragility of social consensus in a world made uneasy by the forces of social division. Both plays are poetic, irreverent and funny, offering the pleasure of entertainment while displaying masterful literary ability. Tannahill possesses a powerful artistic voice that reflects where we come from, who we are and who we may become."
Jordan Tannahill is a playwright, author, and filmmaker. Jordan’s plays have been translated into multiple languages and honoured with various prizes, including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the John Hirsch Prize, and multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards. In the last year, Jordan’s play Late Company transferred to London’s West End; his virtual-reality piece Draw Me Close premiered at the Venice Biennale; his debut novel Liminal was published by House of Anansi; he premiered his play Declarations at Canadian Stage; and he collaborated with Akram Khan on Xenos, currently touring internationally. Visit www.jordantannahill.com.
THE CHAT WITH JORDAN TANNAHILL
This week on The Chat, we speak to Jordan Tannahill, interdisciplinary artist and author of the much-anticipated debut novel, Liminal (House of Anansi Press).
Ann-Marie MacDonald calls Liminal “generous, bold, unabashedly emotional, and really smart—an ultra-engaging portrait of the artist, and portal to the art.”
Teva Harrison, artist and author of In-Between Days, says “This book has everything: a road trip, coming of age, philosophy, mythology, meditation on the nature of self, and the tender love of a son for his mother—all infused with uncommon emotional intelligence.”
Jordan Tannahill is a playwright, director, and author. In 2016 he was described by the Toronto Star as being “widely celebrated as one of Canada’s most accomplished young playwrights, filmmakers, and all-round multidisciplinary artists.” His plays have been translated into multiple languages and honoured with a number of prizes including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and several Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Jordan’s films and multimedia performa …
Next up on our special Governor General’s Award edition of The Chat, we speak with Hiro Kanagawa, winner of this year’s award for English-language Drama.
"Indian Arm is a timely and evocative manifestation of the characters’ struggle with their relationship to the land,” said the peer assessment committee of the work. “Hiro Kanagawa masterfully navigates the tension between Indigenous and settler identities as they work to figure out how we can live together. Mythic. Heart-breaking. Poetic."
Hiro Kanagawa is best known as an actor, but he was also a story editor on several critically-acclaimed Canadian television series: Da Vinci's Inquest, Da Vinci's City Hall, Intelligence, and Blackstone. His plays Tiger of Malaya and The Patron Saint of Stanley Park have been performed across Canada. His distinctions include an Asians on Film award and Jessie Richardson Awards for both acting and writing. Indian Arm previously received the 2015 Jessie Award for Outstanding Original Script. Hiro lives in Port Moody, BC, with his wife and two children and is a youth football coach.
Next up in our special coverage of this year’s Governor General’s Awards is our chat with Colleen Murphy, winner of this year’s GG Award for Drama (English) for her play Pig Girl.
This year’s jury states, “Colleen Murphy weaves a masterfully structured examination of humanity within our most inhumane moments. Pig Girl forces us to relentlessly bear witness to a single night of horror that echoes the silenced ongoing violence against women. Difficult and harrowing, it asks us to acknowledge our collective responsibility. Arresting. Undeniable. Unforgettable.”
Colleen Murphy was born in Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, and now divides her time between Toronto and Edmonton. Some of her other plays include The December Man (L’homme de décembre), which won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Carol Bolt Award, and the Alberta Theatre Projects Enbridge playRites Award; Armstrong’s War; and The Goodnight Bird. She is also librettist of Oksana G., which gets its world premiere at Tapestry Opera in May 2017, and an award-winning filmmaker whose distinct films have played in festivals around the world.
Next up on our special Governor General’s special edition of The Chat, I speak to David Yee, winner of the 2015 English-language Governor General’s Award for Drama for carried away on the crest of a wave.
David Yee is a Dora Mavor Moore Award-nominated actor and playwright, former playwright-in-residence at the Tarragon Theatre and Factory Theatre and currently serves as Artistic Director of fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company. His other plays include lady in the red dress and paper SERIES, and his work has been published in the Asian Canadian drama anthology Love & Relasianships (edited by Nina Lee Aquino) and the monologue book Refractions: Solo (edited by Yvette Nolan & Donna Michelle St. Bernard). David Yee, who proudly identifies himself as a Hapa of Scottish and Chinese descent, was born and raised in Toronto.
Writing for Now magazine, Jon Kaplan said of carried away on the crest of a wave: “The script is rich with poignancy, tragedy and humour…Yee’s clever, insightful writing rarely fails to draw a response, whether he’s using his trademark off-centre laughs or a solemn moment to make a point.”