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Governor General's Awards

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, promotes national sovereignty, encourages national identity, unity and leadership, and honours excellence. Established in 1937, the Governor General's Literary Award recognizes Canadian excellence in the literary world.

Adrienne ClarksonOver the years, many Alberta writers have been honoured with the Governor General's Literary Award and thrived as writers, due in part, to this distinction. In 2003, Edmonton playwright, actor, director, and theatre educator, Vern Thiessen received the Governor General's Award for his work, Einstein's Gift. Chronicling the life and work of Nobel Laureate Dr. Fritz Haber, Einstein's Gift is a tale expounding upon the tragedy of using scientific knowledge for horrific purposes. Einstein's Gift was produced as a play at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre.

Vern ThiessenE.D. Blodgett, an Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta and author of more than 10 volumes of poetry, is another important literary figure in Alberta. In 1996, he was awarded the Governor General's Literary Award for Apostrophes: Woman at a Piano. The book also won the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry. Apostrophes: Woman at a Piano, a work of poetry is not the only book of E.D. Blodgett's to receive an award. Two of his poetry collections were awarded the Stephan G. Stephansson Poetry Award by the Writers Guild of Alberta, while Transfiguration, composed with Jacques Brault, was given the Governor General's Award for Translation.

E.D. BlodgettEvery year, awards are granted to literature in the areas of fiction, poetry, drama, non-fiction, translation, children's literature (text), and children's literature (illustration). Since 1998, the Canada Council for the Arts has been involved in funding, administering and promoting the prestigious awards. Along with the honour of having the Governor General's Award associated with one's book, each laureate receives a $15,000 cheque and a specially designed copy of the winning book. In addition, the Governor General presents each publisher of the award-winning books with a $3,000 grant from the Canada Council for promotional activities.

The Governor General's Literary Awards take place each year at Rideau Hall, the residence of the Governor General in Ottawa.

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