The Nest

Available Now
Get your copy today: Canada | US

Mon, 15 Nov 2004

Mon, 15 Nov 2004

OTTAWA - Toronto writer Kenneth Oppel and Montreal illustrator Stéphane Jorisch are the English children's literature winners of the 2004 Governor General's Literary Award.

Oppel won the annual Canada Council-administered prize for his novel Airborn while Jorisch won for his illustrations for Jabberwocky.

Oppel's 'Airborn' tells a swashbuckling tale "In a world dominated by television, video games and the Internet, children's authors and illustrators have an extraordinary challenge: to create books that stimulate the senses, the emotions and the imaginations of our young people and instill in them a lifelong love of reading," John Hobday, director of the Canada Council, said in a statement.

"With their creative and imaginative stories and illustrations, this year's children's literature winners have met, if not exceeded, that challenge."

In addition to the cash prize of $15,000, Oppel and Jorisch will each receive a specially crafted copy of his book, while their publishers will receive $3,000 each to support promotional activities.

"Masterfully crafted and set in a highly creative world, this outstanding novel is a feat of powerful imagination," the jury wrote of Oppel's novel Airborn in its citation. "From cover to cover, the reader is in the hands of a superb writer."

Targeted for young teens, Airborn tells the tale of a young cabin boy on an luxury airship facing pirates. The B.C.-born Oppel is the author behind the bestselling trilogy Silverwing, Sunwing and Firewing. His more than 20 books have won him a host of children's literary awards, including the Mr. Christie's Book Award, the Ruth Schwartz Award and the CLA Book of the Year.

Monday's honour is Jorisch's third Governor General Literary Award in the children's illustration category. The jury called his anti-war images – including angry soldiers, amputees and graveyards – for Jabberwocky "arresting art [that] brilliantly interprets Lewis Carroll's fantastical poem."

Jorisch's illustrations for 'Jaberwocky' are surreal anti-war images. "Following the tradition of illustrative art, Jorisch extends this familiar text to create a haunting, surreal vision," the jury said.

The Brussels-born Jorisch, also a magazine illustrator who has created images for the Cirque du Soleil, has previously won the Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award, the Mr. Christie's Book Award and other children's literature honours.

Montrealers were also the French-language winners: Nicole Leroux for L'Hiver de Léo Polatouche (text) and Janice Nadeau for Nul Poisson où aller (illustration).

Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson presented the children's literature laureates with their awards Monday at Rideau Hall, at an awards ceremony attended by children from across Ottawa region.

CBC News Online staff
Copyright © CBC 2004