The Governor General’s Literary Awards were created in 1936 and run by the Canadian Authors Association until 1959. During this period in Canadian literature, the concept of Canadian authorship was being heavily interrogated, with the C.A.A. often disagreeing with modernist writers. This essay argues that during these twenty-five years, the C.A.A.—and more specifically William Arthur Deacon—attempted to use the awards to encourage authors and literature that supported their ideology of authorship. Specifically, Deacon attempted to influence the judging of the awards to champion middlebrow writing, living wages for authors, and a national literary culture, and in doing so, attempted to discourage highbrow, modernist literature.
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