Here's a round up of photos from one of the most stunning nights of my life -- the ceremony awarding the Governor General's Literary Awards.
The ceremony was held at Rideau Hall -- the residence of the Canadian Head of State, the Governor General -- currently Julie Payette, an astronaut. It's an enormous stone mansion with beef eater guards and protocol officers in naval dress uniforms who walk you through the five important steps of getting such an award. In most years it's a ballgown and tux events; this year they changed the dress code to cocktail but I had already ordered a ballgown so I wore the heck out of that thing.
(Official picture that came later -- me and the head of state.)
The actual ceremony was held in the “tent room” -- an old tennis court that has been lined with pink and white fabric and hung with oil paintings of white guys in robes. It’s quite a thing to turn around and face this room: the fabric walls, the huge chandeliers, the crowd...
So happy to see the STAND ON THE SKY on this list of best books of the year from the New York Public Library. If you're looking for presents, by the way, this is an excellent searchable list -- certainly I've found some favorites here.
News broke at the crack of dawn this morning: my book, STAND ON THE SKY, has won a Governor General's award -- the oldest and highest profile award in Canada. This is a huge deal. I'm so excited -- I hardly know what to say.
So the Canada Council sent me a set of GG Finalist Stickers, and I hooked up with my friend Ishta Mercurio took them down my local Indie, Worrds Worth books, and put them on stock copies. See the delitght.
So this morning the list of books nominated for the GG -- the Governor General's Award -- came out. I saw it in my e-mail, and really just scanned it briefly. I didn't see my name or my book cover, so I sighed and went to the basement to help clean up the sewage leak. (UGGGH don't ask.)
Then my Twitter notifications started rolling in.
And I'm up for it. STAND ON THE SKY has been nominated for a GG. And I'm on the actual air. I am standing on the sky. As writers we are not allowed to admit that we want these things, but I wanted this thing. A lot. For this book, which is truly the book of my heart.
The Governor General's awards are Canada's big national awards -- like the National Book Awards in the States. They're given in seven categories, including the one I'm up for, literature for young people. They are worth $25K, a big shiney seal, and of course ALL THE GLORY. Even being nominated is a huge, life-changing, caree...
Margaret Atwood was very nice. I sent her a book a while back and she brought it along so I could sign it.
The stage was very big
Poets normally read to six people, one of whom is nappign and two of whom are waiting for the mic.
And I was, frankly, a rock star. I read three poems, one framed around Fritz Haber (written for the occasion), one about Pavlovsk Station (the one from Best Canadian Poetry) and one about General Relativity (always a barn burner poetry topic). And I very nearly got a standing ovation.
This was. A thing.
Many people asked me afterward to post the Fritz Haber poem, so I will, soon.
(Actually it's a delightful list for many reasons, not least that it's chockfull of kid's lit, poetry, plays, spoken word, and other forms, and features queer authors, indigenous authors, and authors of colour. Canlit can sometimes be a bit "the usual suspects who are all white guys plus also Margaret Atwood" so this is so great!)