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Posted May 3, 2013

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Literary Honours

Tanis MacDonald book shortlisted for Gabrielle Roy prize

WATERLOO – A book by Tanis MacDonald, associate professor in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Department of English and Film Studies, has been shortlisted for the 2012 Gabrielle Roy Prize, which honours the best in Canadian literary criticism. WLU Press published MacDonald’s book, The Daughter’s Way: Canadian Women’s Paternal Elegies, marking the fifth year in a row that the press has had a book on the shortlist, three of which have won.

“I would like to congratulate Tanis MacDonald for being chosen as a finalist for this year’s Gabrielle Roy Prize,” said Abby Goodrum, vice-president: research. “We truly value her work both as a practicing poet and as a recognized literary scholar, and WLU Press has once again taken its place as an influential Canadian academic publisher.”

The Daughter’s Way investigates negotiations of female subjectivity in 20th-century Canadian women’s elegies, with a special emphasis on the father’s death as a literary and political watershed. The book examines the work of Dorothy Livesay, P.K. Page, Jay Macpherson, Margaret Atwood, Kristjana Gunnars, Lola Lemire Tostevin, Anne Carson and Erin Mouré. Some poets treat the father as a metaphor for socio-political power while others explore more personal iterations of loss, but all the poets in The Daughter’s Way seek to redefine daughterly duty in a contemporary context.

“I am so pleased to be a finalist for this year’s Gabrielle Roy Prize,” said MacDonald. “There is nothing quite like knowing the book on which I spent so much time has been read with such care and honoured in this way.

“Not only was Gabrielle Roy a great writer, she was also from Saint Boniface, the Quartier Français of Winnipeg, the city where I am originally from, so I feel as though there’s a Manitoban convergence happening. Roy herself wrote ‘Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?’ which is an excellent question to ask, and one that my book regards through the lens of the elegiac form.”

MacDonald is the author of three books of poetry, including her most recent Rue the Day (Turnstone Press, 2008). She is also the editor of Speaking of Power: The Poetry of Di Brandt (WLU Press, 2006).

The winner of the 2012 Gabrielle Roy Prize will be announced June 1 at a reception at the Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures’ annual conference taking place in Victoria, British Columbia.

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