A University of Guelph graduate has won this year’s prestigious English-language Trillium Book Award for Poetry.
Soraya Peerbaye, a 2010 graduate of U of G’s creative writing master of fine arts (MFA) program, was awarded the $10,000 prize Wednesday night.
Peerbaye’s Tell: poems for a girlhood was also a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize earlier this month.
Her collection is partially based on the Reena Virk murder case. The 1997 murder made international headlines, due in part to the viciousness employed by Virk’s assailants: seven girls and one boy aged 13 to 16, five of whom were white.
The poems examine the poet’s remembrances of girlhood, the unease of adolescence and the circumstances that enable some to pass through unhurt.
The Trillium Book Awards, considered among Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes, were established by the provincial government in 1987 to recognize Ontario writers and writing.
U of G professor Madhur Anand was also a finalist for the award for her debut collection of poems, A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes, published in 2015. It explores how connections among art, science and environment can enlighten and inform who we are.