Stage Door News

Ottawa: Finalists announced for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award for drama

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

The Governor General's Literary Awards are one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious literary prizes. 

The awards, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are given in seven English-language categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature — text, young people's literature — illustration, drama and translation. Seven French-language awards are also given out in the same categories.

Each winner will receive $25,000. The winners will be announced on June 1, 2021.

The drama category was assessed by Catherine Banks, Andrew Moodie and Kenneth T. Williams.

Get to know the drama finalists below.

bug by Yolanda Bonnell

bug is a solo show about the impacts of colonization and intergenerational trauma on Indigenous women, as well as a celebration of their strength and resilience.

Yolanda Bonnell is a two-spirit, Ojibwe/South Asian performer and playwright living in Toronto. She was named one of Now Magazine's 15 stage artists to watch, alongside Natasha Greenblatt. Bonell and Greenblatt co-wrote The Election.

Guarded Girls by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman

Guarded Girls is a play about three imprisoned women and a guard who works at the prison where they are incarcerated. Sid is new to the prison and is developing a friendship with her cellmate, Brit. She also forms a complicated relationship with a prison guard. There is also an older inmate, Kit, who is desperate to connect with her visitor.

Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman is a playwright, screenwriter and actor from Toronto. She wrote for the CBC Radio drama Afghanada. She also wrote The End of Pretending with Emily Sugerman, Twisted with Joseph Jomo Pierre, Scratch and Sudden Death

Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story by Kim Senklip Harvey

Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story is a play about two Indigenous sisters and a Trickster who are making their way to Kamloopa, which is the largest powwow on the west coast. Along the way, they connect with their ancestors, their culture and each other.

Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story won the 2019 Jessie Richardson Award for significant artistic achievement and the Sydney J. Risk Prize for outstanding original play by an emerging playwright.

Kim Senklip Harvey is a Syilx, Tsilhqot'in, Ktunaxa and Dakelh Nations playwright and actor. She had roles in Rez Sisters, Gordon Winter and Children of God.

Quick Bright Things by Christopher Cook

Quick Bright Things is a play that depicts one family's struggle to understand mental health. Gerome is a 17-year-old who has schizophrenia. Over the course of one evening, Gerome, alongside his dad, uncle and cousin, face difficult truths about family, health, healing and what it means to be OK.

Christopher Cook is a playwright, performer and therapist from Vancouver. Their other writing credits include The Better Parts of Mourning, Strip and Gerty — Live! In Concert!

Sound of the Beast by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard

Sound of the Beast explores racial discrimination and activism through a unique blend of spoken word, hip hop and storytelling. It is a play that reflects on systems, and how they connect us but also oppress us and how we can find strength and empowerment within ourselves and each other.

Donna-Michelle St. Bernard is a playwright and artists administrator from Toronto. She wrote the monodrama Witness Shift for the CBC Arts' 21 Black Futures project. She has been nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for drama twice before: in 2011 for Gas Girls and in 2016 for A Man A Fish.

French-language finalists for 2020

  • Aalaapi : faire silence pour entendre quelque chose de beau – Collectif Aalaapi
    Atelier 10
  • : L’intégrale – Claude Guilmain (Toronto, Ontario)
    Les Éditions L’Interligne
  • Cœur minéral – Martin Bellemare (Montréal, Quebec)
    Dramaturges Éditeurs
  • Sucré Seize [Huit filles] – Suzie Bastien (Montréal, Quebec)
    Lansman Editeur
  • Zoé – Olivier Choinière (Montréal, Quebec)
    Atelier 10