Governor General's Award for English-language drama

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The Governor General's Award for English-language drama honours excellence in Canadian English-language playwriting. The award was created in 1981 when the Governor General's Award for English-language poetry or drama was divided.

Because the award is presented for plays published in print, a play's eligibility for the award can sometimes be several years later than its eligibility for awards, such as the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding New Play or the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, which are based on the theatrical staging.[1] Titles which compile several works by the playwright into a single volume may also be nominated for or win the award.

Winners and nominees[edit]


Year Author Title
1981 Sharon Pollock Blood Relations
Charles Tidler Straight Ahead and Blind Dancers
George F. Walker Theatre of the Film Noir
1982 John Gray Billy Bishop Goes to War
Lawrence Jeffery Clay
Betty Lambert Jennie's Story
1983 Anne Chislett Quiet in the Land
No advance shortlist was released this year.[2]
1984 Judith Thompson White Biting Dog
James Reaney The Canadian Brothers or The Prophecy Fulfilled
George Ryga A Letter to My Son
1985 George F. Walker Criminals in Love
David French Salt-Water Moon
Margaret Hollingsworth War Babies
Ken Mitchell Gone the Burning Sun
1986 Sharon Pollock Doc
Frank Moher Odd Jobs
Allan Stratton Papers
1987 John Krizanc Prague
Wendy Lill The Occupation of Heather Rose
Michael D.C. McKinlay Walt and Roy
Sharon Pollock Whiskey Six Cadenza
1988 George F. Walker Nothing Sacred
Dennis Foon Skin
Tomson Highway The Rez Sisters
Maureen Hunter Footprints on the Moon
1989 Judith Thompson The Other Side of the Dark
Tomson Highway Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing
John Krizanc Tamara


Year Author Title
1990 Ann-Marie MacDonald Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)
Audrey Butler Black Friday?
John Mighton Scientific Americans
George F. Walker Love and Anger
1991 Joan MacLeod Amigo's Blue Guitar
Sally Clark The Trial of Judith K.
Don Druick Where Is Kabuki?
Linda Griffiths The Darling Family
Daniel David Moses Coyote City
1992 John Mighton Possible Worlds and A Short History of Night
Daniel Brooks and Guillermo Verdecchia The Noam Chomsky Lectures
Dave Carley Writing With Our Feet
Judith Thompson Lion in the Streets
Dianne Warren Serpent in the Night Sky
1993 Guillermo Verdecchia Fronteras Americanas
Daniel MacIvor House Humans
Raymond Storey The Saints and Apostles
David Young Glenn
1994 Morris Panych The Ends of the Earth
Joanna McClelland Glass If We Are Women
Wendy Lill All Fall Down
Bryden MacDonald Whale Riding Weather
1995 Jason Sherman Three in the Back, Two in the Head
Brad Fraser Poor Super Man
Deborah Kimmett Miracle Mother
Joan MacLeod The Hope Slide/Little Sister
Eugene Stickland Some Assembly Required
1996 Colleen Wagner The Monument
Wendy Lill The Glace Bay Miners' Museum
John Mighton The Little Years
Michael O'Brien Mad Boy Chronicle
Betty Quan Mother Tongue
1997 Ian Ross fareWel
Maureen Hunter Atlantis
Lee MacDougall High Life
Jason Sherman Reading Hebron
Judith Thompson Sled
1998 Djanet Sears Harlem Duet
Bruce McManus Selkirk Avenue
Richard Sanger Not Spain
Sandra Shamas Sandra Shamas: A Trilogy of Performances
David Young Inexpressible Island
1999 Michael Healey The Drawer Boy
Wendy Lill Corker
Daniel MacIvor Marion Bridge
Colleen Murphy Beating Heart Cadaver
Theresa Tova Still the Night


Year Author Title
2000 Timothy Findley Elizabeth Rex
George Boyd Consecrated Ground
Linda Griffiths Alien Creature
Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks Monster
Jason Sherman It's All True
2001 Kent Stetson The Harps of God
Mark Brownell Monsieur d'Eon
Clem Martini A Three Martini Lunch
Michael Redhill Building Jerusalem
Jason Sherman An Acre of Time
2002 Kevin Kerr Unity (1918)
Claudia Dey The Gwendolyn Poems
Lorena Gale Je me souviens
Michael MacLennan The Shooting Stage
2003 Vern Thiessen Einstein's Gift
Marie Clements Burning Vision
Brian Drader Prok
Sunil Kuruvilla Rice Boy
Michael MacLennan Last Romantics
2004 Morris Panych Girl in the Goldfish Bowl
Robert Chafe Butler's Marsh and Tempting Providence
Michael Healey Rune Arlidge
Karen Hines The Pochsy Plays
Mieko Ouchi The Red Priest (Eight Ways to Say Goodbye)
2005 John Mighton Half Life
Marjorie Chan China Doll
Don Druick Through the Eyes
Daniel MacIvor Cul-de-sac
Richard Sanger Two Words for Snow
2006 Daniel MacIvor I Still Love You
Morwyn Brebner The Optimists
Lisa Codrington Cast Iron
Jason Sherman Adapt or Die: Plays New and Used
Drew Hayden Taylor In a World Created by a Drunken God
2007 Colleen Murphy The December Man
Salvatore Antonio In Gabriel's Kitchen
Anosh Irani The Bombay Plays: The Matka King and Bombay Black
Rosa Labordé Léo
Morris Panych What Lies Before Us
2008 Catherine Banks Bone Cage
Ronnie Burkett 10 Days on Earth
Paul Ciufo Reverend Jonah
Marie Clements Copper Thunderbird
Judith Thompson Palace of the End
2009 Kevin Loring Where the Blood Mixes
Beverley Cooper Innocence Lost: A Play about Steven Truscott
Joan MacLeod Another Home Invasion
Hannah Moscovitch East of Berlin
Michael Nathanson Talk


Year Author Title
2010 Robert Chafe Afterimage
Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman Scratch
Michael Healey Courageous
Judith Thompson Such Creatures
David Yee lady in the red dress
2011 Erin Shields If We Were Birds
Brendan Gall Minor Complications: Two Plays
Jonathan Garfinkel House of Many Tongues
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard Gas Girls
Vern Thiessen Lenin’s Embalmers
2012 Catherine Banks It Is Solved by Walking
Trina Davies The Romeo Initiative
Karen Hines Drama: Pilot Episode
Cathy Ostlere and Dennis Garnhum Lost: A Memoir
Anusree Roy Brothel #9
2013 Nicolas Billon[3] Fault Lines: Three Plays
Meg Braem[4] Blood: A Scientific Romance
Kate Hewlett[4] The Swearing Jar
Lawrence Jeffery[4] Frenchtown
Joseph Jomo Pierre[4] Shakespeare's Nigga
2014 Jordan Tannahill[5] Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays
Rick Chafe The Secret Mask
Sean Dixon A God in Need of Help
Janet Munsil That Elusive Spark
2015 David Yee carried away on the crest of a wave
Beth Graham The Gravitational Pull of Bernice Trimble
Tara Grammy and Tom Arthur Davis Mahmoud
Bryden MacDonald Odd Ducks
Marcus Youssef and James Long Winners and Losers
2016 Colleen Murphy Pig Girl
Brad Fraser Kill Me Now
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard A Man A Fish
Jordan Tannahill Concord Floral
Mary Vingoe Refuge
2017 Hiro Kanagawa Indian Arm
Robert Chafe The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
Anna Chatterton Within the Glass
Michael Healey 1979
Kate Hennig The Virgin Trial
2018 Jordan Tannahill Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom
Keith Barker This Is How We Got Here
Anna Chatterton, Evalyn Parry and Karin Randoja Gertrude and Alice
Anosh Irani The Men in White
Erin Shields Paradise Lost
2019 Amanda Parris Other Side of the Game
Kevin Loring Thanks for Giving
Hannah Moscovitch What a Young Wife Ought to Know
Sean Harris Oliver The Fighting Season
Tetsuro Shigematsu 1 Hour Photo


Year Author Title
2020 Kim Senklip Harvey Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story [6]
Yolanda Bonnell bug [7]
Christopher Cook Quick Bright Things
Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman Guarded Girls
Donna-Michelle St. Bernard Sound of the Beast

Multiple winners and nominees[edit]

2 Wins

  • Sharon Pollock
  • George F. Walker
  • Judith Thompson
  • John Mighton
  • Morris Panych
  • Colleen Murphy
  • Catherine Banks
  • Jordan Tannahill

6 Nominations

  • Judith Thompson (2 wins)

5 Nominations

  • Daniel MacIvor (1 win)
  • Jason Sherman (1 win)

4 Nominations

  • Wendy Lill
  • Michael Healey (1 win)
  • John Mighton (2 wins)
  • George F. Walker (2 wins)

3 Nominations

  • Robert Chafe (1 win)
  • Joan MacLeod (1 win)
  • Colleen Murphy (2 wins)
  • Morris Panych (2 wins)
  • Sharon Pollock (2 wins)
  • Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
  • Jordan Tannahill (2 wins)

2 Nominations

  • Catherine Banks (2 wins)
  • Daniel Brooks (both with cowriters)
  • Anna Chatterton (consecutive, 1 with cowriters)
  • Marie Clements
  • Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
  • Don Druick
  • Brad Fraser
  • Linda Griffiths
  • Tomson Highway (consecutive)
  • Karen Hines
  • Maureen Hunter
  • Anosh Irani
  • Lawrence Jeffrey
  • John Krizanc (1 win)
  • Kevin Loring (1 win)
  • Bryden MacDonald
  • Michael MacLennon (consecutive)
  • Hannah Moscovitch
  • Richard Sanger
  • Erin Shields (1 win)
  • Vern Thiessen (1 win)
  • Guillermo Verdecchia (consecutive, 1 win)
  • David Yee (1 win)
  • David Young

Drew Hayden Taylor and Anosh Irani have also both been nominated for the Governor General's Award for English-language Fiction. James Reaney won the award three times before Poetry and Drama were split in 1981 into separate categories.