Inuk writer Norma Dunning has won one of Canada’s top literary prizes for English-language fiction.
Dunning was announced the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Awards for English-language fiction on Wednesday for her short story collection Tainna – The Unseen Ones.
“Tainna: The Unseen Ones is an explosive force of sadness, anger, humour and beauty, full of moments that surprise and pummel and still provide hope,” the peer assessment committee, made up of Kristen den Hartog, Chris Eaton and Suzette Mayr, said on the Governor General’s Literary Awards website.
“This collection is both vivid and raw but infused with a sparkling poetry and the wisdom of the old ways. Like the spirits Norma Dunning describes in these stunning and original stories, this is a book that will never leave you.”
The stories feature different Inuit characters spanning different ages and life experiences.
“Norma Dunning’s masterful storytelling uses astute detail to incite compelling characters who meet the prejudice, misogyny and inequity of the Canadian South with humour and tenacity,” says a statement on Governor General’s Literary Awards website.
Dunning is a writer and academic living in Edmonton, Alberta. Her previous books include Annie Muktuk and Other Stories, the poetry collection Akia: The Other Side and the non-fiction book Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit Identity.
The Governor General’s Literary Awards are administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.
Each year, prizes are given out to both English- and French-language poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama, young people’s literature (text), young people’s literature, as well as English to French and French to English translation.
Five finalists are chosen in each category.
Winners receive $25,000 each, and their publishers receive $3,000 to help promote the winning books. Each finalist in the categories receives $1,000.
The complete list of the 2021 winners can be viewed on the Governor General’s Literary Awards website.
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
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