Jillian Tamaki
 

GGs

Dec 1st, 2014
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Admit it, you couldn’t resist either.

This year, both Mariko and I were nominated for Governor General’s Awards for This One Summer. The GGs are a Canadian literary prize with a lot of pomp and, it must be said, a very hefty cheque attached. Mariko had been nominated in 2008, for Skim, in the category of children’s text. There was some consternation at the time, given the inherent absurdity of separating text and image in a comic. And so while it was a happy honour for us to both be nominated in our “respective” categories this year, the issue of cramming comics into an ill-fitting rubric remained.

Nevertheless. Mariko and I had a blast. Last Monday, we flew into Ottawa for the festivities, which consisted of a Parliamentary visit to both the library and question period (I sat across from Stephen Harper and his very blue eyes), a public reading, an official ceremony at Rideau Hall, and some various mix-n-mingle type events featuring high quality finger foods.

I met Shelagh Rogers who, as a former CBC morning show host, has undoubtedly been a companion to much comic-making.

We managed to ferret out a buttertart.

New fun and inspiring friends. Please check out their work: Jordan Tannahill (playright), Michael Harris (journalist), Marianne Dubuc (French-language author/illustrator), Raziel Reid (author), Arleen Paré (poet). Full list of nominees here.

I’ll leave you with my speech, which I gave in Rideau Hall. Thanks, Mariko. Love u, coz <3

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Your Excellencies, fellow laureates, ladies and gentlemen,

Hi.

Thank you so much.

Thank you to the Canada Council, the panelists who selected our book, our publishers Groundwood and First Second Books, Patsy Aldana, Sheila Barry, Mark Seigel and Calista Brill for helping us to shape it, Julia Kelk for driving us around Georgian Bay in a speedboat, the country of Canada for supporting artists, even the crazy ones, and all the zitty teenagers that work in weird corner stores in Muskoka, Ontario.

The most thanks, however, go to my cousin, Mariko Tamaki, whom I wish could join me on this stage right now.

Imagine a page of comics with all the words stripped from the balloons. You could not truly read the comic. Or at least not get the whole story. The same goes for if you erased the images and were left to read floating scraps of dialogue scattered across the page. In this medium, images and words do not support one another; they are intrinsically linked. The wondrousness of comics is the space and play and discord between the two.

Growing up in Calgary, I did not see much of Mariko, as she lived in Toronto and Calgarians don’t have a lot of time for Toronto. Making books with her has been an enlightening lesson in collaboration but also has had the gratifying side-effect of bringing us close as cousins and friends. I share this prize with her in every way.

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Shortly before I fell into the Eternal Flame and was scarred horribly.

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Parliamentary Library.

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With Sheila Barry, Groundwood Books publisher.

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An original edition of Audubon’s Birds. I flipped out at this point in the tour.

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They made us do this, but I think we liked it.

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Arleen’s tabs are on point.

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How did this get in here

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