This past Tuesday, I was privileged to attend the award announcements for the 75th anniversary Governor General's Literary Awards. The GG's, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, awards close to $450,000 in prize money and gifts to a diverse list of Canadian books each year.
Back in the day (before I was an arts funder) I used to study award announcements hoping to find those authors I most admired, and to make a winter reading list. Nowadays, I also apply a different lens. As I sat in the audience on Tuesday, I made a mental note of each winner with a history at the Ontario Arts Council.* After the first few wins, I began to lose count.
Counting authors, illustrators and publishers (winning publishers receive a small cash award to help with promoting the winning book) on the final English language list, there were 14 possible "wins" for the OAC at this year's GG ceremony.
OAC has a direct funding history with 10 out of the 14.
This is marvelous national recognition for both the peerless Ontario writing and publishing community, and the public arts funding that supports and nurtures it.
Congratulations to all the winners of this year's GG Literary Awards, and a great big Ontario Arts Council shout out to:
House of Anansi Press
Playwrights Canada Press
Kids Can Press
*My office at the Ontario Arts Council deals only with English-language books, writers and publishers. A separate office, the Franco-Ontarian Arts Office supports the French-language literary sector.