This Summer I had the great honour of being selected as a jury member of three for the 2014 Governor General’s Literature Awards in Children’s Illustration.
For my non-Canadian friends: the Governor General’s Literary Awards are considered one of Canada’s most prestigious prizes – they are a big deal…
So in Spring I got this very mysterious email from Canada Council for the Arts, in which I was asked when it would be best to call me. It didn’t mention what the call would be about. When I learnt later on the phone what I was invited to do, I was thrilled. What an honour! And I certainly wondered: Em, why me?
The only sad thing was that I wasn’t allowed to share the good news. It was to be kept secret. Not easy to do when all the sudden you find yourself trying to hide boxes full of the most amazing books in your not too spacious one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver’s Kitsilano. Or when you have to come up with excuses for cancelling invites for a weekend in August, as you can’t say that you will be flying to Ottawa to meet up with the other jury members Ron Lightburn and Ange Zhang to select the final 5 books for the GG’s. I managed somehow. But really, it wasn’t easy.
Now that the finalists and the winner are announced, the gala was held yesterday, I am free to spill the beans.
Congratulations to Marie-Louise Gay, Renata Liwska, Qin Leng, Julie Morstad and especially to the winner Jillian Tamaki, the illustrator of This one Summer !
Also good to know: Jillian’s cousin, Mariko Tamaki – the author of this one Summer – is a finalist for Children’s text.
Here is what our commitee had to say about the winning work:
“The tender and touching story of This One Summer comes to life with Jillian Tamaki’s cinematic and evocative illustrations. Fondness for detail, insightful character development and realistic body language convey complex emotions from the first through to the last page. A tour de force of powerful visual storytelling.”
Check out the finalists and the winners of the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Awards here!