News Releases - 2006
Canada-Japan Literary Awards go to John F. Howes and Denis Thériault
Ottawa, December 5, 2006 – The Canada Council for the Arts announced today the names of the winners of the 2006 Canada-Japan Literary Awards. The English-language winning work is Japan’s modern prophet: Uchimura Kanzô, 1861-1930, a biographyby John F. Howes, of Vancouver. The French-language winning work is Le facteur émotif, a novelby Denis Thériault, of Montreal.
The Canada-Japan Literary Awards recognize literary excellence by Canadian authors writing on Japan, Japanese themes or themes that promote mutual understanding between Japan and Canada. The funds for these awards come from the investment return on that portion of the Japan-Canada Fund set aside as an endowment in perpetuity for a literary award. The amount of $20,000 was available for this year’s award. John F. Howes and Denis Thériault will each receive a cheque for $10,000. Representatives of the Embassy of Japan in Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts will present the winners with their awards at a ceremony and reception to be held at the Embassy of Japan in early 2007.
The jury members this year were Will Aitken (Montreal), Gabrielle Bauer (Scarborough, Ontario), Ook Chung (Montreal), Jean-François Somain (Ste-Cécile-de-Masham, Quebec), Russell Thornton (North Vancouver) and Élisabeth Vonarburg (Chicoutimi).
Japan’s modern prophet: Uchimura Kanzô, 1861-1930 by John F. Howes (UBC Press)
In awarding the prize to John F. Howes, the jury members said: “John F. Howes’ Japan’s modern prophet: Uchimura Kanzô, 1861-1930, is a model of biographical excellence. In presenting the life of Uchimura Kanzô, a key figure in introducing Christianity to a modernizing Japan, Howes deals with a complex life and era with compelling lucidity. Howes’ style is classical and assured, his integration of research with analysis masterful. Uchimura Kanzô’s thinking and writing influenced countless other Japanese artists and intellectuals – Howes gives us not only the man in full but also the world he inhabited and helped to transform. The author’s understanding of Japanese society and its radical ambivalence in the face of Western influence and ideas is unsurpassed.”
John F. Howes
Vancouver resident John F. Howes was born in Chicago, Illinois, and attended public schools followed by graduation from Oberlin College in 1950. From there he went on to Columbia University to obtain a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1953 and a Ph.D. in 1965. From 1961, he taught for almost three decades at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Asian Studies.
Mr. Howes’ involvement with Japan started when as a young adult he decided to equip himself to help Japan rebuild after the war. Training in Japanese language at the U. S. Naval School of Oriental Languages (1944-1946) got him started. He subsequently lived in Japan for fifteen years translating, publishing, and lecturing widely on Japan, particularly its Christianity and modernization.
His achievements have been recognized by the Government of Japan with its Order of the Rising Sun (2003) and the American Historical Association with its Roelker Mentorship Award (2006).
Le facteur émotif by Denis Thériault (XYZ éditeur)
In awarding the prize to Denis Thériault, the jury members said: “Le facteur émotif is a thoroughly enjoyable novel about a man who is able to live a great love by proxy, taking the place of another, until the day that he has to face reality in facing the object of his passion. Denis Thériault skillfully weaves his tale though the original conceit of an epistolary relationship where a mutual passion develops through an exchange of haikus. This novel, filled with unexpected twists and often surprising details, has a beautifully vital feeling to it, and is punctuated with emotional notes that ring true in a light and lively style. It is also provides an excellent introduction to the art of the haiku, tracing its literary and philosophical sources and making for a better appreciation of the extent of Japan’s major contribution to universal poetry. ”
Denis Thériault was born in Sept-Îles, Quebec. He earned a degree in psychology from the University of Ottawa in 1981. He was also interested in theatre, working as an actor, animator and director, and decided to become an author. His first two scripts for TV films won the Concours de scénarios de Télé-Québec in 1983 (Aïrenem) and 1984 (Victor le vampire). He then collaborated on the scripts of a number of televised dramas for all audiences.
His first novel, L’iguane, published in 2001 by XYZ éditeur, won the Prix France-Québec Jean‑Hamelin 2001 and the Prix Anne-Hébert 2002, as well as the Prix Odyssée 2002 for a first novel. Continuing on this successful path,
Mr. Thériault leads a double career in Montreal as a scriptwriter and novelist, writing for television while continuing to work on his third novel.
Canada-Japan Literary Awards
Eligible books to the Canada-Japan Literary Awards include first edition works of fiction, non‑fiction, poetry or drama. The works must be written in English or French by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Canadian translations of works in the same genres translated from Japanese into English or French are also eligible. Authors may not submit their own books; publishers must submit books on behalf of the authors or translators for the awards.
The Canada Council for the Arts, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2007, is a national arm’s‑length agency created by an Act of Parliament in 1957. In addition to its principal role of promoting and fostering the arts in Canada, the Canada Council administers a certain number of prestigious awards including the Governor General’s Literary Awards. The Council also administers the Japan-Canada Fund, which assists Canadian arts organizations to bring Japanese artists to Canada. Other noteworthy prizes administered by the Council are the Killam Prizes and the Killam Research Fellowships, the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prizes, the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts and the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts.
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