25th Trillium Award

Trillium Testimonial: Nick Mount

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This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Ontario's illustrious Trillium Book Award/Prix Trillium. To celebrate this silver milestone, Open Book has asked members of the literary community to tell us what they love about their favourite award-winning Trillium title. If you're looking for a recommended read (or re-read), follow these Trillium Testimonials on Open Book: Ontario from now until the winners of the 2012 award competition are announced.

Today, Walrus editor and University of Toronto professor Nick Mount tells us why he chooses — after some deliberation — Karen Solie's Pigeon (House of Anansi), winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry (2009).

Open Book:

Which Trillium Award-winning book is your favourite?


I am acutely conscious of a half-dozen or so titles on the list that could very well be my favourite, if only I had had the time to actually read it. I like many books the Trillium has liked, for many different reasons. I learned from Modris Eksteins's Rites of Spring, not least that history need not be boring. Dionne Brand's Land to Light On made me cry in 1997; Pasha Malla's The Withdrawal Method made me laugh in 2008. For now, I'll go with a recent winner, Karen Solie's Pigeon.


What do you love about this book?


Not the title, that's for sure. In terms of subject and style, I don't think Pigeon marks a significant departure for Solie, but with one of the most sure-footed voices in Canadian poetry, why fix what ain't broke. I think what I love most about that voice is its pitch-perfect balance between the confidence of epigram and the undercut of doubt, the way it hovers on the knife-edge of irony and sincerity, worry and hope. Much like us. The fact that she can write a mind-blowing poem about tractors doesn't hurt.


When did you first read it?


Belatedly: January 23, 2023 (I keep a reading diary).

Nick Mount is the fiction editor for The Walrus and Associate Professor of English at the University of Toronto, where he teaches Canadian literature. He is the author of When Canadian Literature Moved to New York (UTP, 2005), winner of the Gabrielle Roy Prize. He’s also won a National Magazine Silver Award, a 3M National Teaching Award, and once, a wicked cool string art kit. On black velvet and everything.

You could be reading your top Trillium titles on a new Kobo eReader! Click here for details on our Trillium 25th Anniversary Contest.

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