Winter 2009





Nino Ricci Wins Governor General’s Award

Toronto writer Nino Ricci won the 2008 Governor General's Literary Award for English fiction for his novel The Origin of Species. (See review on page 34.) Ricci won over Montrealer Rawi Hage, nominated for Cockroach, and New Brunswick born David Adams Richards nominated for The Lost Highway. In his acceptance speech, Ricci thanked Montreal for its inspiration and Canadian Governors General since Vincent Massey for their support of the arts, "sometimes in the face of the whims of the individual governments of the day." Ricci was one of 14 winners of the $25,000 award, in seven categories, in both French and English. It is the second win for Ricci, who earned the award in 1990 for Lives of the Saints, his debut novel.


Short Fiction Bressani Prize to Darlene Madott

Toronto lawyer and writer Darlene Madott won the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize for short fiction with her story “Making Olives.” Awarded by the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver, the award is named after the Jesuit Francesco Giuseppe Bressani (1612-1672) and was established in 1986 to encourage and honour literary works by Canadian authors of Italian heritage and other backgrounds. Past winners include Nino Ricci, Carmine Starnino, Joe Fiorito, Antonio D’Alfonso, M.G. Vassanji and Michael Ondaatje. The winners in 2008 in other categories were Elana Wolff (poetry),Victoria Miles (novel) and Donna Caruso (creative non-fiction).The awards were presented on November 27 in Vancouver, BC.


Donna Caruso Wins Saskatchewan Book Award

Fort Qu'Appelle author Donna Caruso said she was shocked but absolutely delighted to win the 2008 Saskatchewan Book Awards non-fiction competition. "I thought there was absolutely no way I was going to win given the competition in that category,'' said Caruso, who received the award at the 16th annual Saskatchewan Book Awards Gala held in Regina in December. Caruso's Journey Without a Map, Growing Up Italian: A Memoir, by Thistledown Press, explores her Italian roots and how her parents and grandparents' history and life stories influenced her life. Caruso was born in New Jersey; her parents’ families moved from Italy in the early 1900s. Caruso, who runs a film production company, has worked in the arts since the early 1980s, but considers herself a writer. The Saskatchewan Book Awards was begun in 1993 by the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, the Saskatchewan Library Association and the Saskatchewan Publishers Group.


Antonio Caruso's Christmas Stamp Design Makes History

Maple, Ontario’s Antonio Caruso never imagined he'd be part of Canadian philatelic history, as a young art student in his native Italy. But now the image of an infant Jesus he carved is gracing 24 million copies of the 2008 religious-themed Christmas stamp. “Stamp collectors from all over the world are already sending me e-mails, and it's great because you suddenly find yourself making history,” said Caruso. One reason Canada Post chose Caruso's design is that the tiny chisel marks in the wood are still visible. “Because they are so small, they tend to translate very well into stamps that are equally small,” says the stamp's graphic designer, Joseph Gault. Gault says he chose Caruso's work because of the intense detail in the traditional Italian style. Source: CBC


Antonio D’Alfonso Wins Van-Saanen Literary Prize

Novelist and publisher Antonio D’Alfonso is the 2008 winner of the Christine-Dumitriu-van-Saanen Literary Prize for his novel L’aimé (Leméac, 2007), which completes the trilogy on his character Fabrizio Notte. The Van- Saanen Literary Prize rewards excellence in French literature in Ontario and is offered jointly by the Quebec government and the Salon du livre in Toronto.


Re-Designed Art Gallery of Ontario Features Galleria Italia

Toronto’s AGO re-opened to the public in November, after a redesign by celebrity architect Frank Gehry. Gehry's design expands the AGO to 110 galleries, giving it more space to show some of its new acquisitions. The design also features the Galleria Italia, a light-filled sculpture gallery stretching almost a city block along Dundas Street, funded by a group of 19 Italian-Canadian benefactors, each of whom contributed $500,000 to the project. The initiative “would signal the love we feel for Italy while honouring Canada, the country we have also come to love, and where most of us learned that anything and everything is possible,” said AGO trustee Tony Gagliano, who spearheaded the project. Source: CBC

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