Two Winnipeg authors nominated for Governor General Literary Awards

The two books written by Winnipeg authors that are finalists for the Governor General Literary Awards. (Source:

Two Winnipeg authors are among the finalists for the Governor General Literary Awards.

They are both being recognized for their work in 2020, as last year’s awards had to be postponed due to the pandemic.

Colleen Nelson, who is a teacher, was nominated in the Young People's Literature—Text category for her book, Harvey Holds His Own.

David A. Robertson was also nominated in the same category for his book, The Barren Grounds.

Nelson said she was quite shocked to learn that she was nominated.

"To be one of the five titles that has been selected is honestly, I'm still a little speechless about it," she said. "It's a big deal."

Nelson said she shed some tears when she learned she had become a finalist. The Grade 8 teacher also said she was just working on goal setting with her students last month and she included being nominated for the award as one of her goals.

"I feel like the kids today they really got a sense of like, 'Wow when you work hard at something, it can come true. You can make your own magic happen’.”

Nelson said at this time, she couldn't even imagine winning the award and right now she is just enjoying the nomination.

Robertson had a similar feeling about the nomination as Nelson, saying it was a nice way to wake up.

"It was a nice surprise for sure," he said. "You never really expect to get an award when you write a book, you kind of just write because you have something to say and you have a story to tell," Robertson added.

He said he was a little floored for a moment, and then felt really grateful for being recognized for his work.

Robertson has won the award before for a picture book he previously wrote and he said he loves being able to write books that showcase adventures but also teach kids important lessons in life.

"(My book) has some really important things to say about Canada, about the foster-care system."

He added he is excited to go up against the other authors in the category, including Nelson, noting they are all great writers and each of them deserves to win.

For 2020, 70 books were nominated in 14 different categories.

Each finalist will receive $1,000 and the winner will be awarded $25,000, while the publisher for each winning book will be awarded $3,000.

The Governor General's Literary Awards were created in 1939 and were designed to promote Canadian literature.

The winners will be announced later in the spring and the regular schedule will resume with the 2021 finalists and winners being announced in the fall.