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Two writers to be awarded $65K Griffin Poetry Prize at Toronto gala

Writer and poet Dionne Brand is photographed during an interview in Toronto on Monday, May 13, 2019. Brand's poetry collection "The Blue Clerk" has been shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Some of the biggest names in Canadian literature will come together tonight to see which two writers will win the lucrative Griffin Poetry Prize. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO — Some of the biggest names in Canadian literature will come together tonight to see which two writers will win the lucrative Griffin Poetry Prize.

Two poets — one Canadian, one international — will take home $65,000 apiece at the Griffin gala in Toronto’s Distillery District.

Former Toronto poet laureate Dionne Brand, a previous Griffin winner, could secure the honour a second time for “The Blue Clerk,” published by McClelland & Stewart.

The other Canadian contenders are Victoria’s Eve Joseph for the prose-poems in “Quarrels” (Anvil Press) and University of Waterloo professor Sarah Tolmie’s “The Art of Dying” (McGill-Queen’s University Press).

The international short list includes:

– British-Jamaican spoken-word poet Raymond Antrobus’  “The Perseverance” (Penned in the Margins)

– Chicago-based Daniel Borzutzky’s “Lake Michigan” (University of Pittsburgh Press)

– “Autobiography of Death” written in Korean by Kim Hyesoon and translated by Don Mee Choi (New Directions)

– “Negative Space” written in Albanian by Luljeta Lleshanaku and translated by Ani Gjika (Bloodaxe Books)

Montreal writer Nicole Brossard, recipient of this year’s Lifetime Recognition Award, is slated to read at tonight’s dinner reception.

The Griffin Trust was founded in 2000 by chairman Scott Griffin, along with trustees Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson and David Young.

The prize is billed as the world’s largest for a first-edition single collection of poetry written in or translated into English.

The Canadian Press