Governor General's Literary Awards
Non-fiction

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The Governor General's Literary Award for Non-fiction (English) is awarded annually for a book written by a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada.

Note: From 1942 to 1958, the nonfiction category was split into creative writing and academic writing.

See also: Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction (French)

indicates a review is available for that book


2013

  • Sandra Djwa – Journey with No Maps

Also shortlisted:

  • Carolyn Abraham – The Juggler's Children
  • Nina Munk – The Idealist
  • Allen Smutylo – The Memory of Water
  • Priscila Uppal – Projection

2012

  • Ross King – Leonardo and the Last Supper

Also shortlisted:

  • Carol Bishop-Gwyn – The Pursuit of Perfection
  • Nahlah Ayed – A Thousand Farewells
  • Noah Richler – What We Talk About When We Talk About War
  • Wade Davis – Into the Silence

2011

  • Charles Foran – Mordecai: The Life & Times

Also shortlisted:

  • Nathan M. Greenfield – The Damned
  • Richard Gwyn – Nation Maker, Volume Two: 1867-1891
  • J.J. Lee – The Measure of a Man
  • Andrew Nikiforuk – Empire of the Beetle

2010

  • Allan Casey – Lakeland

Also shortlisted:

  • Elizabeth Abbott – A History of Marriage
  • Ian Brown – The Boy in the Moon
  • Karen Connelly – Burmese Lessons
  • John English – Just Watch Me

2009

Also shortlisted:

  • Randall Hansen – Fire and Fury
  • Trevor Herriot – Grass, Sky, Song
  • Eric S. Margolis – American Raj
  • Eric Siblin – The Cello Suites

2008

  • Christie Blatchford – Fifteen Days

Also shortlisted:

  • Douglas Hunter – God's Mercies
  • Sid Marty – The Black Grizzly of Whiskey Creek
  • James Orbinski – An Imperfect Offering
  • Chris Turner – The Geography of Hope

2007

  • Karolyn Smardz Frost – I've Got a Home in Glory Land

Also shortlisted:

  • Rodrigo Bascuñán and Christian Pearce – Enter the Babylon System
  • John English – Citizen of the World
  • Stephanie Nolen – 28
  • Bridget Stutchbury – Silence of the Songbirds

2006

  • Ross King – The Judgment of Paris

Also shortlisted:

  • Afua Cooper – The Hanging of Angélique
  • Susanne Reber and Robert Renaud – Starlight Tour
  • Michael Strangelove – The Empire of Mind
  • Christine Wiesenthal – The Half-Lives of Pat Lowther

2005

  • John Vaillant – The Golden Spruce

Also shortlisted:

  • Ted Bishop – Riding with Rilke
  • Michael Mitchell – The Molly Fire
  • Edward Shorter – Written in the Flesh
  • Jessica Warner – The Incendiary

2004

  • Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire – Shake Hands with the Devil

Also shortlisted:

  • Anne Coleman – I'll Tell You a Secret
  • Christopher Dewdney – Acquainted with the Night
  • Jane Jacobs – Dark Age Ahead
  • Jan Zwicky – Wisdom & Metaphor

2003

  • Margaret MacMillan – Paris 1919

Also shortlisted:

  • Andrew Clark – A Keen Soldier
  • Andrew Cohen – While Canada Slept
  • Maggie de Vries – Missing Sarah
  • Ross King – Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling

2002

  • Andrew Nikiforuk – Saboteurs

Also shortlisted:

  • Carolyn Abraham – Possessing Genius
  • Jill Frayne – Starting Out in the Afternoon
  • Stephen Henighan – When Words Deny the World
  • Don McKay – Vis à Vis

2001

  • Thomas Homer-Dixon – The Ingenuity Gap

Also shortlisted:

  • Susan Crean – The Laughing One
  • Ross A. Laird – Grain of Truth
  • Alberto Manguel – Reading Pictures
  • Jack Todd – The Taste of Metal

2000

  • Nega Mezlekia – Notes from the Hyena's Belly

Also shortlisted:

  • Robert Bringhurst – A Story as Sharp as a Knife
  • Denise Chong – The Girl in the Picture
  • Trevor Herriot – River in a Dry Land
  • A.B. McKillop – The Spinster and the Prophet

1999

  • Marq de Villiers – Water

Also shortlisted:

  • Donald Harman Akenson – Surpassing Wonder
  • Michael Bliss – William Osler
  • Wayson Choy – Paper Shadows
  • Wayne Johnston – Baltimore's Mansion

1998

Also shortlisted:

  • Wayne Grady – The Quiet Limit of the World
  • Charlotte Gray – Mrs. King
  • Judy Schultz – Mamie's Children
  • Rudy Wiebe and Yvonne Johnson – Stolen Life

1997

  • Rachel Manley – Drumblair

Also shortlisted:

  • Wade Davis – One River
  • Catherine Dunphy – Morgentaler
  • Terry Glavin – This Ragged Place
  • Blair Stonechild and Bill Waiser – Loyal till Death

1996

Also shortlisted:

  • Roy MacGregor – The Home Team
  • T.F. Rigelhof – A Blue Boy in a Black Dress
  • Lake Sagaris – After the First Death
  • Merilyn Simonds – The Convict Lover

1995

  • Rosemary Sullivan – Shadow Maker

Also shortlisted:

  • Charles Foran – The Last House of Ulster
  • Linda McQuaig – Shooting the Hippo
  • Sid Marty – Leaning on the Wind

1994

  • John A. Livingston – Rogue Primate

Also shortlisted:


1993

  • Karen Connelly – Touch the Dragon

Also shortlisted:

  • Marq de Villiers – The Heartbreak Grape
  • Marian Fowler – In a Gilded Cage
  • Jane Jacobs – Systems of Survival
  • Noël Mostert – Frontiers

1992

  • Maggie Siggins – Revenge of the Land

Also shortlisted:

  • Michael Bliss – Plague
  • Ken Cuthbertson – Inside
  • Michael R. Marrus – Mr. Sam

1991

  • Robert Hunter and Robert Calihoo – Occupied Canada

Also shortlisted:

  • Northrop Frye – Words With Power
  • Kristjana Gunnars – Zero Hour
  • D.L. (Lorne) MacDonald – Poor Polidori
  • Rosemary Sullivan – By Heart

1990

  • Stephen Clarkson & Christina McCall – Trudeau and Our Times

Also shortlisted:

  • Timothy Findley – Inside Memory
  • Eugene Forsey – A Life on the Fringe
  • Ron Graham – God's Dominion
  • James King – The Last Modern

1989

  • Robert Calder – Willie

Also shortlisted:

  • Janice Boddy – Wombs and Alien Spirits
  • Robert MacNeil – Wordstruck
  • Dale A. Russell – An Odyssey in Time

1988

  • Anne Collins – In the Sleep Room

Also shortlisted:

  • Pierre Berton – The Arctic Grail
  • Alan A. Borovoy – When Freedoms Collide
  • Edith Iglauer – Fishing with John

1987

  • Michael Ignatieff – The Russian Album

Also shortlisted:

  • Janice Kulyk Keefer – Under Eastern Eyes
  • P.K. Page – Brazilian Journal

1986

  • Northrop Frye – Northrop Frye on Shakespeare

Also shortlisted:

  • Claude Bissell – The Imperial Canadian
  • Phyllis Grosskurth – Melanie Klein
  • Witold Rybczynski – Home

1985

  • Ramsay Cook – The Regenerators

Also shortlisted:

  • Michael D. Behiels – Prelude to Quebec's Quiet Revolution
  • John Herd Thompson – Canada 1922-1939
  • P.B. Waite – The Man from Halifax

1984

  • Sandra Gwyn – The Private Capital

Also shortlisted:

  • Bob Beal and Rod Macleod – Prairie Fire
  • Graham Fraser – P.Q.

1983

  • Jeffery Williams – Byng of Vimy

Also shortlisted:

  • Ken Dryden – The Game
  • H.S. Ferns – Reading from Left to Right

1982

  • Christopher Moore – Louisbourg Portraits

Also shortlisted:

  • Northrop Frye – The Great Code
  • Christina McCall-Newman – Grits

1981

  • George Calef – Caribou and the barren-lands

Also shortlisted:

  • Claude Bissell – The Young Vincent Massey
  • Elspeth Cameron – Hugh MacLennan

1980

  • Jeffrey Simpson – Discipline of Power

Also shortlisted:

  • John Fraser – The Chinese
  • Donald MacKay – Scotland Farewell

1979

  • Maria Tippett – Emily Carr

Also shortlisted:

  • Robert Bothwell & William Kilbourn – C.D. Howe
  • Larry Pratt & John Richards – Prairie Capitalism

1978

  • Roger Caron – Go-Boy!

1977

  • Frank Scott – Essays on the Constitution

1976

  • Carl Berger – The Writing of Canadian History

1975

  • Marion MacRae & Anthony Adamson – Hallowed Walls

1974

  • Charles Ritchie – The Siren Years

1973

  • Michael Bell – Painters in a New Land

1971

  • Pierre Berton – The Last Spike

1967

  • Norah Story – The Oxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature

1966

  • George Woodcock – The Crystal Spirit

1965

  • James Eayrs – In Defence of Canada

1964

  • Phyllis Grosskurth – John Addington Symonds

1963

  • J.M.S. Careless – Brown of the Globe

1962

  • Marshall McLuhan – The Gutenberg Galaxy

1961

  • T.A. Goudge – The Ascent of Life

1960

  • Frank H. Underhill – In Search of Canadian Liberalism

1958

  • Pierre Berton – Klondike
  • Joyce Hemlow – The History of Fanny Burney

1957

  • Bruce Hutchison – Canada: Tomorrow's Giant
  • Thomas H. Raddall – The Path of Destiny

1956

  • Pierre Berton – The Mysterious North
  • Joseph Lister Rutledge – Century of Conflict

1955

  • N.J. Berrill – Man's Emerging Mind
  • Donald G. Creighton – John A. Macdonald, The Old Chieftain

1954

  • Hugh MacLennan – Thirty and Three
  • A.R.M. Lower – This Most Famous Stream

1953

  • N.J. Berrill – Sex and the Nature of Things
  • J.M.S. Careless – Canada, A Story of Challenge

1952

  • Bruce Hutchison – The Incredible Canadian
  • Donald G. Creighton – John A. Macdonald, The Young Politician

1951

  • Josephine Phelan – The Ardent Exile
  • Frank MacKinnon – The Government of Prince Edward Island

1950

  • Marjorie Wilkins Campbell – The Saskatchewan
  • W.L. Morton – The Progressive Party in Canada

1949

  • Hugh MacLennan – Cross-country
  • R. MacGregor Dawson – Democratic Government in Canada

1948

  • Thomas H. Raddall – Halifax, Warden of the North
  • C.P. Stacey – The Canadian Army, 1939-1945

1947

  • William Sclater – Haida
  • R. MacGregor Dawson – The Government of Canada

1946

  • Philip Grove – In Search of Myself Frederick
  • A.R.M. Lower – Colony to Nation

1945

  • Evelyn M. Richardson – We Keep a Light
  • Ross Munro – Gauntlet to Overlord

1944

  • Dorothy Duncan – Partner in Three Worlds
  • Edgar McInnis – The War: Fourth Year

1943

  • John D. Robins – The Incomplete Anglers
  • E.K. Brown – On Canadian Poetry

1942

  • Bruce Hutchison – The Unknown Country
  • Edgar McInnis – The Unguarded Frontier

1941

  • Emily Carr – Klee Wyck

1940

  • J.F.C. Wright – Slava Bohu

1939


1938

  • John Murray Gibbon – Canadian Mosaic

1937

  • Stephen Leacock – My Discovery of the West

1936

  • T.B. Roberton – T.B.R. - newspaper pieces