Governor General's Award for English-language non-fiction

The Governor General's Award for English-language non-fiction is a Canadian literary award that annually recognizes one Canadian writer for a non-fiction book written in English. Since 1987[1] it is one of fourteen Governor General's Awards for Literary Merit, seven each for creators of English- and French-language books. Originally presented by the Canadian Authors Association,[clarification needed] the Governor General's Awards program became a project of the Canada Council for the Arts in 1959.[2]

The program was created in 1937 and inaugurated that November for 1936 publications in two English-language categories, conventionally called the 1936 Governor General's Awards.[1] Beginning in 1942 there were two winners annually, with separate awards presented for creative non-fiction and academic non-fiction;[3] however, this was discontinued after the 1958 awards, and then returned to a single non-fiction category.

The winners alone were announced until 1979, when Canada Council released in advance a shortlist of three nominees. Since then, the advance shortlist has numbered three to five.

Winners and nomineesEdit


Year Author Title
1936 Thomas Beattie Roberton TBR: Newspaper Pieces
1937 Stephen Leacock My Discovery of the West
1938 John Murray Gibbon Canadian Mosaic
1939 Laura Salverson Confessions of an Immigrant's Daughter


Year Author Title
1940 J. F. C. Wright Slava Bohu
1941 Emily Carr Klee Wyck
1942 Bruce Hutchison The Unknown Country
Edgar McInnis The Unguarded Frontier
1943 E. K. Brown On Canadian Poetry
John D. Robins The Incomplete Anglers
1944 Dorothy Duncan Partner in Three Worlds
Edgar McInnis The War: Fourth Year
1945 Ross Munro Gauntlet to Overlord
Evelyn M. Richardson We Keep a Light
1946 Frederick Philip Grove In Search of Myself
Arthur R. M. Lower Colony to Nation
1947 William Sclater Haida
R. MacGregor Dawson The Government of Canada
1948 Thomas H. Raddall Halifax, Warden of the North
C. P. Stacey The Canadian Army, 1939-1945
1949 Hugh MacLennan Cross-country
R. MacGregor Dawson Democratic Government in Canada


Year Author Title
1950 Marjorie Wilkins Campbell The Saskatchewan
W. L. Morton The Progressive Party in Canada
1951 Frank MacKinnon The Government of Prince Edward Island
Josephine Phelan The Ardent Exile
1952 Donald G. Creighton John A. Macdonald, The Young Politician
Bruce Hutchison The Incredible Canadian
1953 J. M. S. Careless Canada, A Story of Challenge
N. J. Berrill Sex and the Nature of Things
1954 Hugh MacLennan Thirty and Three
Arthur R. M. Lower This Most Famous Stream
1955 N. J. Berrill Man's Emerging Mind
Donald G. Creighton John A. Macdonald, The Old Chieftain
1956 Pierre Berton The Mysterious North
Joseph Lister Rutledge Century of Conflict
1957 Thomas H. Raddall The Path of Destiny
Bruce Hutchison Canada: Tomorrow's Giant
1958 Pierre Berton Klondike
Joyce Hemlow The History of Fanny Burney
1959 No award presented


Year Author Title
1960 Frank H. Underhill In Search of Canadian Liberalism
1961 T. A. Goudge The Ascent of Life
1962 Marshall McLuhan The Gutenberg Galaxy
1963 J.M.S. Careless Brown of the Globe
1964 Phyllis Grosskurth John Addington Symonds
1965 James Eayrs In Defence of Canada
1966 George Woodcock The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell
1967 Norah Story The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature
1968 Mordecai Richler Cocksure and Hunting Tigers Under Glass
1969 No award presented


Year Author Title
1970 No award presented
1971 Pierre Berton The Last Spike
1972 No award presented
1973 Michael Bell Painters in a New Land
1974 Charles Ritchie The Siren Years
1975 Marion MacRae and Anthony Adamson Hallowed Walls
1976 Carl Berger The Writing of Canadian History
1977 Frank Scott Essays on the Constitution
1978 Roger Caron Go-Boy! Memories of a Life Behind Bars
1979 Maria Tippett Emily Carr
Robert Bothwell and William Kilbourn C.D. Howe
Larry Pratt and John Richards Prairie Capitalism


Year Author Title
1980 Jeffrey Simpson Discipline of Power: The Conservative Interlude and the Liberal Restoration
John Fraser The Chinese: Portrait of a People
Donald MacKay Scotland Farewell: The People of the Hector
1981 George Calef Caribou and the Barren-Lands
Claude Bissell The Young Vincent Massey
Elspeth Cameron Hugh MacLennan: A Writer's Life
1982 Christopher Moore Louisbourg Portraits: Life in an Eighteenth- Century Garrison Town
Northrop Frye The Great Code: The Bible and Literature
Christina McCall-Newman Grits: An Intimate Portrait of The Liberal Party
1983 Jeffery Williams Byng of Vimy
Ken Dryden The Game
H. S. Ferns Reading from Left to Right: One Man's Political History
1984 Sandra Gwyn The Private Capital: Ambition and Love in the Age of Macdonald and Laurier
Bob Beal and Rod Macleod Prairie Fire: The 1885 North-West Rebellion
Graham Fraser P.Q.: René Lévesque and the Parti Québécois in Power
1985 Ramsay Cook The Regenerators: Social Criticism in Late Victorian English Canada
Michael D. Behiels Prelude to Quebec's Quiet Revolution: Liberalism versus Neo-nationalism
John Herd Thompson Canada 1922-1939: Decades of Discord
P. B. Waite The Man from Halifax: Sir John Thompson, Prime Minister
1986 Northrop Frye Northrop Frye on Shakespeare
Claude Bissell The Imperial Canadian
Phyllis Grosskurth Melanie Klein
Witold Rybczynski Home
1987 Michael Ignatieff The Russian Album
Janice Kulyk Keefer Under Eastern Eyes
P. K. Page Brazilian Journal
1988 Anne Collins In the Sleep Room
Pierre Berton The Arctic Grail
Alan Borovoy When Freedoms Collide
Edith Iglauer Fishing with John
1989 Robert Calder Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham
Janice Boddy Wombs and Alien Spirits
Robert MacNeil Wordstruck
Dale A. Russell An Odyssey in Time: The Dinosaurs of North America


Year Author Title
1990 Stephen Clarkson and Christina McCall Trudeau and Our Times
Timothy Findley Inside Memory: Pages from a Writer's Workbook
Eugene Forsey A Life on the Fringe: The Memoirs of Eugene Forsey
Ron Graham God's Dominion: A Sceptic's Quest
James King The Last Modern: A Life of Herbert Read
1991 Robert Hunter and Robert Calihoo Occupied Canada: A Young White Man Discovers His Unsuspected Past
Northrop Frye Words With Power
Kristjana Gunnars Zero Hour
D. L. MacDonald Poor Polidori: A Critical Biography of the Author of "The Vampyre"
Rosemary Sullivan By Heart: Elizabeth Smart, A Life
1992 Maggie Siggins Revenge of the Land: A Century of Greed, Tragedy and Murder on a Saskatchewan Farm
Michael Bliss Plague: A Story of Smallpox in Montreal
Ken Cuthbertson Inside: The Biography of John Gunther
Michael R. Marrus Mr. Sam: The Life and Times of Samuel Bronfman
1993 Karen Connelly Touch the Dragon
Marq de Villiers The Heartbreak Grape: A Journey in Search of the Perfect Pinot Noir
Marian Fowler In a Gilded Cage
Jane Jacobs Systems of Survival
Noël Mostert Frontiers
1994 John A. Livingston Rogue Primate: An Exploration of Human Domestication
Sharon Butala The Perfection of the Morning: An Apprenticeship in Nature
Denise Chong The Concubine's Children: Portrait of a Family
Joan Haggerty The Invitation: A Memoir of Family Love and Reconciliation
Peter Larisey Light for a Cold Land: Lawren Harris's Work and Life-An Interpretation
1995 Rosemary Sullivan Shadow Maker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwen
Charles Foran The Last House of Ulster: A Family in Belfast
Linda McQuaig Shooting the Hippo
Sid Marty Leaning on the Wind
1996 John Ralston Saul The Unconscious Civilization
Roy MacGregor The Home Team: Fathers, Sons & Hockey
T. F. Rigelhof A Blue Boy in a Black Dress
Lake Sagaris After the First Death: A Journey Through Chile, Time, Mind
Merilyn Simonds The Convict Lover: A True Story
1997 Rachel Manley Drumblair: Memories of a Jamaican Childhood
Wade Davis One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest
Catherine Dunphy Morgentaler: A Difficult Hero
Terry Glavin This Ragged Place: Travels Across the Landscape
Blair Stonechild and Bill Waiser Loyal Till Death: Indians and the North-West Rebellion
1998 David Adams Richards Lines on the Water: A Fisherman's Life on the Miramichi
Wayne Grady The Quiet Limit of the World: A Journey to the North Pole to Investigate Global Warming
Charlotte Gray Mrs. King: The Life and Times of Isabel Mackenzie King
Judy Schultz Mamie's Children: Three Generations of Prairie Women
Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson Stolen Life: The Journey of a Cree Woman
1999 Marq de Villiers Water
Donald Harman Akenson Surpassing Wonder
Michael Bliss William Osler
Wayson Choy Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood
Wayne Johnston Baltimore's Mansion


Year Author Title
2000 Nega Mezlekia Notes from the Hyena's Belly
Robert Bringhurst A Story as Sharp as a Knife
Trevor Herriot River in a Dry Land
A. B. McKillop The Spinster and the Prophet
2001 Thomas Homer-Dixon The Ingenuity Gap
Susan Crean The Laughing One: A Journey to Emily Carr
Ross A. Laird Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft
Alberto Manguel Reading Pictures: A History of Love and Hate
Jack Todd The Taste of Metal: A Deserter's Story
2002 Andrew Nikiforuk Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig's War Against Big Oil
Carolyn Abraham Possessing Genius: The Bizarre Odyssey of Einstein's Brain
Jill Frayne Starting Out in the Afternoon: A Mid-Life Journey into Wild Land
Stephen Henighan When Words Deny the World: The Reshaping of Canadian Writing
Don McKay Vis à Vis: Field Notes on Poetry & Wilderness
2003 Margaret MacMillan Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World
Andrew Clark A Keen Soldier: The Execution of Second World War Private Harold Pringle
Andrew Cohen While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World
Maggie de Vries Vancouver, for Missing Sarah: A Vancouver Woman Remembers Her Vanished Sister
Ross King Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling
2004 Roméo Dallaire Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda
Anne Coleman I'll Tell You a Secret: A Memory of Seven Summers
Christopher Dewdney Acquainted With the Night: Excursions Through the World After Dark
Jane Jacobs Dark Age Ahead
Jan Zwicky Wisdom & Metaphor
2005 John Vaillant The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed
Ted Bishop Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books
Michael Mitchell The Molly Fire
Edward Shorter Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire
Jessica Warner The Incendiary: The Misadventures of John the Painter, First Modern Terrorist
2006 Ross King The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism
Afua Cooper The Hanging of Angélique: The Untold Story of Canadian Slavery and the Burning of Old Montréal
Susanne Reber and Robert Renaud Starlight Tour: The Last, Lonely Night of Neil Stonechild
Michael Strangelove The Empire of Mind: Digital Piracy and the Anti-Capitalist Movement
Christine Wiesenthal The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther
2007 Karolyn Smardz Frost I've Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad
Rodrigo Bascunan and Christian Pearce Enter the Babylon System: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to 50 Cent
John English Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968
Stephanie Nolen 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa
Bridget Stutchbury Silence of the Songbirds: How We Are Losing the World's Songbirds and What We Can Do to Save Them
2008 Christie Blatchford Fifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army
Douglas Hunter God’s Mercies: Rivalry, Betrayal and the Dream of Discovery
Sid Marty The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek
James Orbinski An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century
Chris Turner The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need
2009 M. G. Vassanji A Place Within: Rediscovering India
Randall Hansen Fire and Fury: The Allied Bombing of Germany, 1942-45
Trevor Herriot Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds
Eric Margolis American Raj: Liberation or Domination? (Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World)
Eric Siblin The Cello Suites: J.S. Bach, Pablo Casals, and the Search for a Baroque Masterpiece


Year Author Title
2010 Allan Casey Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada
Elizabeth Abbott A History of Marriage
Ian Brown The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search for His Disabled Son
Karen Connelly Burmese Lessons: A Love Story
John English Just Watch Me: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1968-2000
2011 Charles Foran Mordecai: The Life and Times
Nathan M. Greenfield The Damned: The Canadians at the Battle of Hong Kong and the POW Experience, 1941-45
Richard Gwyn Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times, Volume Two: 1867-1891
JJ Lee The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit
Andrew Nikiforuk Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America's Great Forests
2012 Ross King Leonardo and the Last Supper
Nahlah Ayed A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring
Carol Bishop-Gwyn The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franca
Wade Davis Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest
Noah Richler What We Talk About When We Talk About War
2013 Sandra Djwa Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page
Carolyn Abraham The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us
Nina Munk The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty
Allen Smutylo The Memory of Water
Priscila Uppal Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother
2014 Michael Harris The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We’ve Lost in a World of Constant Connection
Arno Kopecky The Oil Man and the Sea: Navigating the Northern Gateway
Edmund Metatawabin and Alexandra Shimo Up Ghost River: A Chief’s Journey Through the Turbulent Waters of Native History
Maria Mutch Know the Night: A Memoir of Survival in the Small Hours
2015 Mark L. Winston Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive
Ted Bishop The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder, and Our Relationship with the Written Word
David Halton Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada's Voice at War
Michael Harris Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada's Radical Makeover
Armand Garnet Ruffo Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird
2016 Bill Waiser A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905
Kamal Al-Solaylee Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone)
Teva Harrison In-Between Days: A Memoir about Living with Cancer
Harold R. Johnson Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours)
Marc Raboy Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World
2017 Graeme Wood The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State
Sharon Butala Where I Live Now: A Journey through Love and Loss to Healing and Hope
Sarah de Leeuw Where It Hurts
Elaine Dewar The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada's Best Publisher and the Best Part of our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational
Carol Off All We Leave Behind: A Reporter's Journey into the Lives of Others
2018 Darrel J. McLeod Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age
Carys Cragg Dead Reckoning: How I Came To Meet the Man Who Murdered My Father
Aida Edemariam The Wife’s Tale: A Personal History
Terese Marie Mailhot Heart Berries
Abu Bakr Al-Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung Homes: A Refugee Story
2019 Don Gillmor To the River: Losing My Brother
Brian Harvey Sea Trial: Sailing After My Father
Naomi K. Lewis Tiny Lights for Travellers
Alan Walker Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times
Dan Werb City of Omens: A Search for the Missing Women of the Borderlands


  1. ^ a b "Governor General's Literary Awards" [table of winners, 1936–1999]. online guide to writing in canada ( Retrieved 2015-08-18.
  2. ^ "Governor General's Literary Awards". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2015-08-18.
  3. ^ "Win Governor-General's Literary Awards". Victoria Times-Colonist. June 19, 1943. p. 4. Retrieved January 10, 2019 – via

External linksEdit