Poetry hits chord at Trillium book fest

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The night sang with poetry this week as Ontario presented its Trillium book awards at a dinner in Toronto.

Poet Phil Hall of Perth took home a $20,000 prize as winner of the Trillium Book Award in English-language. His book, Killdeer, was published by BookThug of Toronto. Killdeer also received the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Poetry last fall and was short-listed for the 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize.

In the separate English-language poetry category, honours went to Toronto’s Nick Thran and his publisher Nightwood Editions for Earworm.

Ottawa writer Michèle Vinet’s managed to crack the line-up with her novel Jeudi Novembre, which was named best French-language book. Fellow Ottawa resident Sonia Lamontagne’s quickly re-versed the theme, however, with À tire d’ailes, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry in French-language.

Sudbury’s Editions Prise de parole was the publisher for both French-language winners.

The Wednesday event marked the 25th anniversary of the awards. As part of the celebrations, Open Book ran a public contest to select the favourite French and English titles from the previous 24 years’ winners. From a list of public picks, a celebrity critics’ panel selected Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient (McClelland & Stewart) as their favourite in the English language category. A panel of students from The Toronto French School, meanwhile, selected Les Rebuts : Hockey 2 by Paul Prud’Homme (Les Éditions du Vermillon) as the best of the best in the French language.

Trillium Book Award winners each receive $20,000, while their publishers receive $2,500 toward their promotional costs. The two Poetry Award winners each receive $10,000 and their publishers receive $2,000. All finalists receive a $500 honorarium.

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