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Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards Turn 75

Happy 75th birthday to the Governor General’s Awards, which began in 1937 as literary awards only. Contemporarily, the title is an umbrella for a collection of annual awards recognizing and rewarding excellence in a variety of artistic and academic categories.

Back in 1937, the first Governor General’s Literary Award came into being under Lord Tweedsmuir (also known as prolific author John Buchan). Originally, they were awarded to English-language authors only, and just two per year.

To celebrate 75 years of the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the world’s most extensive collection of Governor General Award for Fiction winners in the world is currently on display at the University of Toronto. The collection belongs to John H. Meier of the W.A. Deacon Literary Foundation. It consists of over 500 volumes and includes numerous highly rare and collectible editions such as galleys, uncorrected proofs, trial dust jackets, advance review copies, association copies, author copies, and more.

The collection is on display now at U of T’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, and will be until December 21st. The Fisher Library houses the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, and has been in its present location – a brief walk from where the first GGLA was presented by Lord Tweedsmuir in 1937 – for just shy of 40 years.

For any lover of rare and collectible books, avid reader or Canadian history buff, this exhibit will be a rare feast.

University of Toronto
Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
120 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
October 8th to December 21st, 2012
Library open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 9am-5pm Thursday 9am-8pm Closed weekends.

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