The GG’s and BC – 2021
November 17th, 2021
Tolu Oloruntoba has won the 2021 Governor General’s Award for Poetry for his first full-length collection of poems, The Junta of Happenstance (Palimpsest $19.95) that focuses on the juxtaposition of disease and dis-ease, the immigrant experience and social injustices.
The GG peer assessment committee, Kaie Kellough, George Murray and Anna Marie Sewell wrote that: “Tolu Oloruntoba’s voice in The Junta of Happenstance is at once thoughtful and authoritative, metaphorically rich and lyrically surprising. Oloruntoba’s language travels through history and myth to speak to today and engage with a future transformed by new understanding. The combination of craft and spirit cuts a fine place for this debut work, expanding our literary view.”
Ian Williams, winner of the 2019 Giller Prize said Oloruntoba’s poems “left me dazzled to the point of squinting. In every poem, some piece of gorgeous, quotable language glittered in my eye.”
Oloruntoba’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and his debut chapbook, Manubrium (Anstruther, 2019) was a bpNichol Chapbook Award finalist. His poetry has appeared in Harvard Divinity Bulletin, PRISM International, Pleiades, Columbia Journal Online, Obsidian, The Maynard and the Humber Literary Review.
Oloruntoba was born in Nigeria and spent his early career as a primary care physician. He now lives in Surrey where he works as a project manager for a health authority. 978-1989287729
Vancouver-based illustrator, Julie Flett and Winnipeg’s author David Robertson have co-won the 2021 Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature in the illustrated category for On the Trapline (Penguin, $21.99). This picture book celebrates Indigenous culture and traditions. A boy and Moshom, his grandpa, take a trip together to visit a place of great meaning to Moshom. A trapline is where people hunt and live off the land, and it was where Moshom grew up. As they embark on their northern journey, the child repeatedly asks his grandfather, “Is this your trapline?” Along the way, the boy finds himself imagining what life was like two generations ago—a life that appears to be both different from and similar to his life now. This is a story about memory, imagination and inter-generational connection that captures the experience of a young child’s wonder as he is introduced to places and stories that hold meaning for his family.
The GG peer assessment committee, Kyrsten Brooker and Catherine Hernandez wrote: “With its muted palette and gentle text, On the Trapline is quietly profound. Robertson’s reflective storytelling coupled with Flett’s masterpiece illustrations make this picture book a must-read about the connection to language, family, the land and tradition.” 9780735266681