English Prof Finalist for Two Poetry Awards

April 05, 2011 - News Release

A University of Guelph English professor has been shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize, Canada’s most generous poetry award. Dionne Brand is among three Canadian finalists for the prestigious honour, it was announced today.

This is Brand’s second award nomination in as many days. On Monday, she was named a finalist for the 2011 Pat Lowther Award.

Brand is nominated for both awards for her novel-length poem, Ossuaries, which tells the story of an activist named Yasmine who lives in exile and gets caught up in a series of events.

The Griffin Poetry Prize is one of the world’s largest annual literary awards for poetry published in English. It was founded by businessman and philanthropist Scott Griffin, who received an honorary doctorate from U of G in 2006.

Awards are given to one Canadian and one international poet who writes in the English language. Winners receive $65,000; finalists get $10,000 each.

The finalists will take part in a poetry reading May 31 in Toronto, and the winners in the Canadian and international categories will be announced June 1 at the Griffin Poetry Prize awards ceremony. Finalists were selected from a pool of 450 books of poetry, including 20 translations, from poets in 37 countries around the globe.

The Pat Lowther Award was created in memory of poet Pat Lowther. The $1,000 prize is given to a book of poetry written by a Canadian woman and published in the preceding year. The winner will be announced June 11.

Brand has published 10 volumes of poetry. In 1997, she won the Governor General's Award and the Trillium Book Award. She was named Toronto’s poet laureate in 2009. Brand has won the Pat Lowther Award previously and been a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Governor General’s Award.

She is also an award-winning novelist, capturing the Toronto Book Award for her novel What We All Long For in 2006. She has also contributed to 17 anthologies, written dozens of essays and articles, and made four documentary films for the National Film Board. Her writing has been translated into Italian and French, and is published in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, Ext. 53338, lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982, d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

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