Trillium Book Awards
The Ontario government established the Trillium Book Award in 1987 to recognize excellence, support marketing and foster increased public awareness of the quality and diversity of Ontario writers and writing.
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2015 English Winner
Kate Cayley's How You Were Born is a collection of short stories looking at the bizarre, the tragi-comic and the unbelievable elements that run through our lives. An aging academic becomes convinced that he is haunted by his double. Two children believe their neighbours are war criminals in hiding. A dwarf in a circus dreams of a perfect wedding. An eleven-year-old girl becomes obsessed with the acrobat who visits her small town. Two women fall in love over a painting of the apocalypse. A group of siblings put their senile Holocaust survivor father into institutional care, while failing to notice that he is reliving the past. Each story examines, from a different angle, the difficult business of love, loyalty and memory. With elegance and restraint, in spare language, these narratives run the gamut from realistic to uncanny, from ordinary epiphanies to extremities of experience. Settings range from present-day Toronto, to small town Ontario in 1914, to West Virginia in 1967, characters ranging from the very young to the very old, the manifestly unhinged to the ostensibly sane. These are dark stories in which light finds a foothold, and in which connections, frequently missed or mislaid, offer redemption.
2014 English Winner
Hannah Moscovitch for the drama This is War. An insightful and emotional look into the embittered psyche of soldiers in the aftermath of combat. Master Corporal Tanya Young, Captain Stephen Hughes, Private Jonny Henderson, and Sergeant Chris Anders have lived through an atrocity while holding one of the most volatile regions in Afghanistan. As each of them is interviewed by an unseen broadcasting organization, they recount their version of events leading up to the horrific incident with painful, relenting replies. What begins to form is a picture of the effects of guilt and the psychological toll of violence in a war where the enemy is sometimes indiscernible.
2013 English Winner
Alice Munro for Dear Life. With her peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but spacious and timeless stories, Alice Munro illumines the moment a life is shaped -- the moment a dream, or sex, or perhaps a simple twist of fate turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into another way of being. Suffused with Munro's clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these stories (set in the world Munro has made her own: the countryside and towns around Lake Huron) about departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real, paint a vivid and lasting portrait of how strange, dangerous, and extraordinary the ordinary life can be.
2012 English Winner
Killdeer by Phil Hall. Poetry. These are poems of critical thought that have been influenced by old fiddle tunes. These are essays that are not out to persuade so much as ruminate, invite, accrue. Hall is a surruralist (rural and surreal), and a terroir-ist (township-specific regionalist). He offers memories of, and homages to--Margaret Laurence, Bronwen Wallace, Libby Scheier, and Daniel Jones, among others. He writes of the embarrassing process of becoming a poet, and of his push-pull relationship with the whole concept of home.
2011 English Winner
The Amazing Absorbing Boy by Rabindranath Maharaj. Both familiar and strange, this story of a large Canadian city seen through the wide eyes of a naive and inexperienced young immigrant — wise in the culture of comic books — is both hilarious and heartbreaking.
Other finalists included Emma Donoghue for Room, James FitzGerald for his memoir What Disturbs Our Blood, Ken Sparling for his experimental novel Book, Paul Vermeersch for his fourth poetry collection, The Reinvention of the Human Hand; and Michael Winter for his work of documentary fiction The Death of Donna Whalen.
2010 English Winner
The Boy in the Moon by Ian Brown. Ian Brown’s son Walker is one of only about 300 people worldwide diagnosed with cardiofaciocutaneous (CFC) syndrome—an extremely rare genetic mutation that results in unusual facial appearance, the inability to speak, and a compulsion to hit himself constantly. At age thirteen, he is mentally and developmentally between one and three years old and will need constant care for the rest of his life.