25th Trillium Award

GG Awards Series: WAR: Writers as Readers, with Donald Winkler

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Donald Winkler

Open Book continues the celebration of outstanding Canadian writing by featuring the winners of the 2013 Governor General's Literary Awards in the weeks following the announcement. In this special edition of The WAR (Writers As Readers) Series, filmmaker and translator Donald Winkler shares his reading habits, from what inspired his childhood imagination to the novel that brings him to tears — and laughter. Donald was born in Winnipeg, but his fascination with film and language drew him from the prairies to the Yale School of Drama, the National Film Board of Canada and finally to his award-winning career as a translator of Quebec literature.

Donald Winkler is the winner of the 2013 Governor General?s Award for French to English Translation for his translation of The Major Verbs (Vehicule Press). The original French-language edition of this book, Les verbes majeurs, by Pierre Nepveu, was nominated for a Governor General?s Literary Award in Poetry.

The winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards will be celebrated this evening in a special ceremony at Rideau Hall. Congratulations to all of the winners!

The WAR Series, with Donald Winkler

The first book I remember reading on my own:
One of the Hardy Boys series. When I got three for my birthday and read them all before breakfast, I graduated to something else.

A book that made me cry:
Portnoy?s Complaint (Philip Roth).

The first adult book I read:
The Three Musketeers. I was sick in bed, and my older brother brought me this brick with small print and no pictures. I was crestfallen. Then I got lost in it.

A book that made me laugh out loud:
Portnoy?s Complaint.

The book I have re-read many times:
Irving Layton?s A Red Carpet for the Sun.

A book I feel like I should have read, but haven't:
Van Gogh?s letters. But I will, I will.

The book I would give my 17-year-old self, if I could:
Under the Volcano.

A book I feel strongly influenced me as a writer and why:
The poems of Roland Giguère. This represented my first venture into translation, and showed me what I could do.

The best book I read in the past six months:
Sepharad by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.

The book I plan on reading next:
Conversations with a Dead Man, by Mark Abley.

A possible title for my autobiography:
From Prairie to Plateau.

Donald Winkler is a filmmaker and translator. He won the 2011 Governor General?s Literary Award for Translation for Partita for Glenn Gould (McGill-Queen?s University Press). His translation of Daniel Poliquin?s La Kermesse [A Secret Between Us] was a finalist for the 2007 Giller Prize. He lives in Montreal.

For more information about The Major Verbs please visit the Vehicule Press website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore, online from the publisher or at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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