The 2023 Governor General's Literary Awards have been announced and Nightwood Editions author Conor Kerr is a finalist in the poetry category for his collection Old Gods, through which readers are situated in the Métis mindset: the old gods of the land are alive within the rivers, the birds, the hills and the prairies that surround us, and they’ll always be here.
The Governor General's Literary Awards (#GGBooks), administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, recognize Canada's best English and French books in seven categories.
Old Gods is a collection of sharp and incisive poems that move restlessly across landscapes and time, constantly in motion. 4Runners streak through the night, racing with coyotes and roving across the land. Buses travel from town to town, from one memory to another, from past to present. Friends and lovers search for each other on Instagram and find nothing. And always the natural world travels alongside: the watching magpies, woodpeckers and cedar waxwings, the coyotes and porcupines. Family is the crisp wings of mallard ducks flying at dawn, just as it is a game of crib, a Mario Kart race, a dance party.
Conor Kerr is a Métis Ukrainian writer. A member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, he is a descendant of the Lac Ste. Anne Métis and the Papaschase Cree Nation. His Ukrainian family are settlers in Treaty Four and Six territories in Saskatchewan. In 2020 he received The Fiddlehead's Ralph Gustafson Poetry Prize and in 2021 was awarded The Malahat Review's Long Poem Prize. His work has been anthologized in Best Canadian Poetry 2020 and Best Canadian Stories 2020 and published in literary magazines across Canada. He is the author of the poetry collection An Explosion of Feathers and the novel Avenue of Champions, which was shortlisted for the Amazon First Novel Award, won a 2022 ReLit Award and was longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize.