Acadian Bestsellers Capture Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Arts Award

Halifax, N.S. – Georgette Leblanc’s poetic works Alma and Amédé received the $25,000 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Arts Award at a gala dinner in Halifax’s Pier 21 last night (Oct. 29). The winner was selected by an arms-length jury of five, chaired by Ingrid Jenkner, Director of Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery. Toronto-based dramaturge/writer/performer Jacob Zimmer, conductor/composer/musicologist Walter Kemp, locative media/visual artist Léola Leblanc (no relation to the winner), and poet/playwright/filmmaker Herménégilde Chiasson (himself the former Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick) completed the jury.

In announcing the winner, Her Honour the Honourable Mayanne E. Francis, ONS, DHumL, said “Ms. Leblanc’s accomplishment not only confirms the high caliber of her work, but is an important addition to the body of Acadian art, literature and culture. It is also a testament to the rich cultural heritage we have in Nova Scotia.”

Ron Bourgeois, Chair of the Nova Scotia Masterworks Awards Foundation which administers the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia’s Arts Awards, also expressed his pleasure at the selection: “As an Acadian, I have a very good understanding of the merit and importance of this work. It has truly taken Nova Scotian artistic achievement beyond our borders to the world at large.”

In selecting Alma and Amédé, the jury noted Leblanc’s works “present the Acadian communities of Baie Sainte-Marie, mainly from the perspectives of two memorable characters, yet opening onto multiple and layered perspectives that transcend their times and location. Written in a simple yet vivacious and lyrical style, reflecting the ‘Acadjoune’ speech of the region, these poem stories move well beyond an Acadian folkloric cliché to maintain a mythic ambience, and have been favourably compared with the work of Antonine Maillet, Michel Tremblay, and Anglophone Nova Scotian writers such as Ernest Buckler and George Elliot Clarke.”

The other four finalists: Graeme Patterson’s multi-faceted sculptural installation Grudge Match, Peter Togni’s concerto Lamentatio Jeremiae Prophetae, Allan Syliboy’s huge mural People of the Dawn, and Allen Cole’s musical play Rockbound (produced and presented by Two Planks and a Passion Theatre) each received $2000 awards.

The Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Arts Award is made possible by major funding from the Province of Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia Masterwork Awards Foundation also gratefully acknowledges the support of The Craig Foundation, Scotiabank, and Stewart McKelvey.