The Governor General’s Award, called the GG colloquially, is one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards, and has been awarded since 1936. Beginning with just two prize awarded annually (fiction and non-fiction were the only genres in 1936), the awards now recognize seven genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children’s text, children’s illustration, and translation.

Since 1937, women have been winning the GG, beginning with Laura Salverson’s work of fiction, The Dark Weaver. She was the first woman to win the GG, as well as the first woman to win the prize in the fiction category. She won again in 1939, the second time in the non-fiction category, with her autobiography, Confessions of an Immigrant’s Daughter.

Anne Marriott is the first woman to win in the poetry category with her anthology, Calling Adventures.

1937Laura SalversonThe Dark WeaverFiction
1938Gwethalyn GrahamSwiss SonataFiction
1939Laura SalversonConfessions of an Immigrant's DaughterAutobiography
1941Emily CarrKlee WyckMemoir
Anne Marriott!!(Joyce!!Anne!!Marriott)Calling Adventurers Poetry
1944Dorothy DuncanPartner in Three WorldsAcademic
Gwethalyn GrahamEarth and High HeavenFiction
Dorothy LivesayDay and Night Poetry
1945Evelyn RichardsonWe Keep a Light, or, We Bought an IslandMemoir
1946Winifred BambrickContinental RevueFiction
1947Gabrielle RoyBonheur d’occasion / The Tin Flute (Trans. 1947)Fiction
Dorothy LivesayPoems for People Poetry
1950Marjorie Wilkins Campbell The SaskatchewanAcademic
Germaine GuèvremontLe Survenant (1945) and Marie-Didace (1947) / The Outlander (Trans. 1950)Fiction
1951Josephine Phelan The Ardent Exile: The Life and Times of D’Arcy McGeeAcademic
1952Marie McPhedran Cargoes on the Great Lakes Children's & Young Adult
1954Marjorie Wilkins Campbell The Nor’westers: The Fight for the Fur Trade Children's & Young Adult
P. K. Page The Metal and the Flower Poetry
1956Adele WisemanThe SacrificeFiction
1957Gabrielle RoyRue Deschambault / Street of Riches (Trans. 1957)Fiction
Jay Macpherson The Boatman Poetry
1958Joyce HemlowThe History of Fanny BurneyBiography
Edith L. Sharp Nkwala Children's & Young Adult
1960Anne HébertPoèmes Poetry
Margaret Avison Winter Sun Poetry
1964Phyllis GrosskurthJohn Addington Symonds: A Biography, or, The Woeful VictorianBiography
1966Margaret LaurenceA Jest of GodFiction
Margaret AtwoodThe Circle Game (Revised 1966)Poetry
1967Norah StoryOxford Companion to Canadian History and Literature Academic
1968Alice MunroDance of the Happy ShadesFiction
Marie-Claire BlaisManuscripts de Pauline Archange / The Manuscripts of Pauline Archange (Trans. 1970)Fiction
1969Louise Maheux-ForcierUne forêt pour Zoé / A Forest for Zoe (Trans. 1986)Fiction
Gwendolyn MacEwenThe Shadow-Maker Poetry
1970Monique BoscoLa Femme de Loth / Lot's Wife (Trans. 1975)Fiction
1972Antonine MailletDon l’OrignalChildren's & Young Adult
1973Miriam Mandel Lions at Her Face Poetry
1974Louise Dechêne Habitants et marchands de Montréal au XVIIe siècle / Habitants and Merchants in Seventeenth-Century Montreal (Trans. Liana Vardi 1992)Academic
Margaret LaurenceThe DivinersFiction
Nicole BrossardMécanique jongleuse / Daydream Mechanics (Trans. 1980)Poetry
1975Marion MacRaeHallowed Walls: Church Architecture of Upper Canada (Collab. Anthony Adamson)Academic
Anne HébertLes enfants du sabbat / Children of the Black Sabbath (Trans. Carol Dunlop-Hébert 1977)Fiction
1976Marian EngelBearFiction
1977Gabrielle RoyCes enfants de ma vie / Children of My HeartFiction
1978Alice MunroWho Do You Think You Are?, or, The Beggar MaidFiction
1979Dominique Clift Le fait anglais au Québec / The English Fact in Quebec (Trans. Clift and Sheila McLeod Arnopoulos 1980; collab. Arnopoulos)Academic
Sheila McLeod!!ArnopoulosLe Fait anglais au Québec / The English Fact in Quebec (Trans. Arnopoulos and Dominique Clift 1980; collab. Clift)Academic
Maria TippettEmily Carr: A Biography Biography
Marie-Claire BlaisLe sourd dans la ville / Deaf to the City (Trans. 1981)Fiction
1981Madeleine Ouellette-Michalska L'Echappée des discours de l'oeilAcademic
Marie Laberge C'etait avant la guerre a l'Anse a Gilles / Before the War, Down at l'Anse a Gilles Drama
Sharon PollockBlood Relations and Other Plays ("Blood Relations" prod. 1980; also includes "One Tiger to a Hill," "Generations" and "My Name is Lisabeth") Drama
Mavis GallantHome Truths: Selected Canadian StoriesFiction
1982Phyllis Webb The Vision Tree Poetry
1983Anne ChislettQuiet in the Land (Prod. 1981)Drama
Suzanne JacobLaura LaurFiction
Suzanne ParadisUn goût de selPoetry
1984Nicole GagnonLe XXe siècle (Collab. Jean Hamelin)Academic
Sandra GwynThe Private Capital: Ambition and Love in the Age of Macdonald and LaurierAcademic
Judith ThompsonWhite Biting Dog (Prod. 1984)Drama
Nicole BrossardDouble Impression: Poèmes et textes 1967-1984 Poetry
Paulette JilesCelestial NavigationPoetry
1985Maryse Pelletier Duo pour voix obstinées / Duo for obstinate voices (Trans. Louise Ringuet 1990)Drama
Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s TaleFiction
1986Régine RobinLe réalisme socialisteAcademic
Anne LegaultLa Visite des sauvages (Prod. 1986)Drama
Sharon PollockDoc (Prod. 1984)Drama
Alice MunroThe Progress of LoveFiction
Cécile CloutierL'ÉcoutéPoetry
1987Marie-Louise GayRainy Day Magic / Magie d’un jour pluie (Trans. Gay 1989)Children's & Young Adult
Jeanne-Mance DelisleUn oiseau vivant dans la gueule / A Live Bird in its Jaws (Trans. Yves Saint-Pierre 1992) Drama
Gwendolyn MacEwenAfterworlds Poetry
1988Anne CollinsIn the Sleep Room: CIA Brainwashing in CanadaAcademic
Patricia SmartÉcrire dans la maison du père: l'émergence du féminin dans la tradition littéraire du Québec / Writing in the Father's House: The Emergence of the Feminine in the Quebec Literary Tradition (Trans. Smart 1991)Academic
Michèle MarineauCassiopée ou L'été polonaisChildren's & Young Adult
Welwyn Wilton Katz The Third Magic Children's & Young Adult
Erin MouréFurious Poetry
1989Lise NoëlL'Intolérance / Intolerance: A General Survey (Trans. Arnold Bennett 1994) Academic
Diana Wieler Bad Boy Children's & Young Adult
Judith ThompsonThe Other Side of the Dark: Four Plays (includes "I Am Yours," "Pink," "Tornado," and revised version of "The Crackwalker")Drama
Heather SpearsThe Word for Sand Poetry
1990Christina McCallTrudeau and Our Times, Vol. 1: The Magnificent Obsession (Collab. Stephen Clarkson)Biography
Christiane DuchesneLa Vraie histoire du chien de Clara VicChildren's & Young Adult
Jovette MarchessaultLe voyage magnifique d’Emily Carr / The Magnificent Voyage of Emily Carr (Trans. Linda Gaboriau 1992)Drama
Margaret Avison No Time Poetry
1991Sarah EllisPick-Up Sticks Children's & Young Adult
Joan MacLeod Amigo’s Blue GuitarDrama
Madeleine GagnonChant pour un Québec lointainPoetry
1992Maggie SigginsRevenge of the Land: A Century of Greed, Tragedy, and Murder on a Saskatchewan FarmAcademic
Christiane DuchesneVictorChildren's & Young Adult
Julie JohnstonHero of Lesser Causes Children's & Young Adult
Anne HébertL'enfant chargé de songes / Burden of Dreams (Trans. Sheila Fischman 1994) Fiction
Lorna CrozierInventing the HawkPoetry
1993Michèle MarineauLa route de Chlifa / The Road to Chlifa (Trans. Susan Ouriou 1995)Children's & Young Adult
Carol ShieldsThe Stone DiariesFiction
Nancy HustonCantique des plaines / Plainsong (Trans. Huston 1993)Fiction
Karen ConnellyTouch the Dragon: A Thai Journal, or, Dream of a Thousand Lives: A Sojourn in ThailandMemoir
Denise DesautelsLe saut de l'ange Poetry
1994Chantal Saint-JarreDu sidaAcademic
Julie JohnstonAdam and Eve and Pinch-Me Children's & Young Adult
Suzanne Martel Une belle journée pour mourir Children's & Young Adult
1995Rosemary SullivanShadowmaker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwenBiography
Sonia SarfatiComme une peau de chagrinChildren's & Young Adult
Carole FréchetteLes quatre morts de Marie / The Four Lives of Marie (Trans. 1996 John Murrell)Drama
Nicole HoudeLes Oiseaux de Saint-John Perse Fiction
Anne Szumigalski Voice Poetry
1996Colleen WagnerThe Monument (Prod. 1995)Drama
Marie-Claire BlaisSoifs / These Festive Nights (Trans. 1997)Fiction
1997Kit PearsonAwake and Dreaming Children's & Young Adult
Jane UrquhartThe UnderpainterFiction
Rachel ManleyDrumblair: Memories of a Jamaican ChildhoodMemoir
Dionne BrandLand to Light On Poetry
1998Angèle DelaunoisVariations sur un même "t'aime"Children's & Young Adult
Janet LunnThe Hollow Tree Children's & Young Adult
Djanet Sears Harlem Duet (Prod. 1997)Drama
Christiane FrenetteLa Terre ferme / Terra Firma (Trans. Sheila Fischman 1999)Fiction
Diane SchoemperlenForms of DevotionFiction
Stephanie BolsterWhite Stone: The Alice PoemsPoetry
Suzanne JacobLa Part de Feu, ou, Le Deuil de la rancunePoetry
1999Charlotte GingrasLa liberté? Connais pasChildren's & Young Adult
Rachna GilmoreA Screaming Kind of DayChildren's & Young Adult
Lise TremblayLa Danse juive / Mile End (Trans. 2002)Fiction
Jan ZwickySongs for Relinquishing the EarthPoetry
2000Charlotte GingrasUn été de jadeChildren's & Young Adult
Deborah Ellis Looking for X Children's & Young Adult
2001Renée Dupuis Quel Canada pour les Autochtones? / Justice for Canada's Aboriginal Peoples (Trans. Robert Chodos and Susan Joanis 2002) Academic
Andree A. MichaudLe ravissementFiction
2002Judith Lavoie Mark Twain et la parole noire Academic
Hélène Vachon L'oiseau de passage Children's & Young Adult
Martha BrooksTrue Confessions of a Heartless GirlChildren's & Young Adult
Gloria SawaiA Song for Nettie JohnsonFiction
Monique LaRueLa gloire de Cassiodore Fiction
2003Margaret MacMillan Paris, 1919: Six Months That Changed the WorldAcademic
Danielle SimardJ'ai vendu ma soeur (self-illustrated)Children's & Young Adult
Élise TurcotteLa maison étrangèreFiction
2004Miriam ToewsA Complicated KindnessChildren's & Young Adult
Nicole LerouxL’Hiver de Léo Polatouche / A Winter for Leo (Trans. Sheila Fischman 2006)Children's & Young Adult
Aki ShimazakiHotaruFiction
Miriam ToewsA Complicated KindnessFiction
Roo BorsonShort Journey Upriver Toward Oishida Poetry
2005Pamela PorterThe Crazy ManChildren's & Young Adult
Anne Compton Processional Poetry
2006Hélène DorionRavir : les lieux Poetry
2007Annette HaywardLa querelle du régionalisme au Québec (1904-1931): Vers l’autonomisation de la literature québécoiseAcademic
Karolyn Smardz FrostI’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground RailroadAcademic
Colleen MurphyThe December Man / L’homme de décembreDrama
2008Christie BlatchfordFifteen Days: Stories of Bravery, Friendship, Life and Death from Inside the New Canadian Army Academic
Sylvie DesrosiersLes trois lieuesChildren's & Young Adult
Catherine BanksBone CageDrama
Jennifer TremblayLa liste Drama
Marie-Claire BlaisNaissance de Rebecca à l’ère des tourmentsFiction
2009Caroline PignatGreener Grass: The Famine YearsChildren's & Young Adult
Suzanne LebeauLe bruit des os qui craquentDrama
Julie MazzieriLe discours sur la tombe de l'idiotFiction
Kate PullingerThe Mistress of NothingFiction
Hélène MonetteThérèse pour joie et orchestrePoetry
2010Kim ThúyRuFiction
2011Wendy PhillipsFishtailing Children's & Young Adult