“Now, my Boy, Listen to Daddy”: William Arthur Deacon and His Influence on the Governor General’s Literary Awards

  • Christopher Doody Carleton University


The Governor General’s Literary Awards were created in 1936 and were run by the Canadian Authors Association until 1959. This essay argues that during these first twenty-five years of the award, the judging of the awards was heavily influenced by the ideologies of one man—William Arthur Deacon. While Deacon’s influence was essential for the GG awards gaining the prestige they have today, he also attempted to control which books, and which authors, won. Specifically, this essay argues that Deacon used his position of power to try to ensure that the GGs were awarded to middlebrow, non-modernist authors, in order to encourage authors who agreed with his own ideological views of literature, and penalize those who did not.

Author Biography

Christopher Doody, Carleton University

Christopher Doody is a PhD candidate in the Department of English Language and Literature at Carleton University. His dissertation examines the Canadian Authors Association and its impact on changing conceptions of authorship in Canada from 1920-1960. His research interests include the contemporary publishing industry and Canadian book history. He has published articles on the role of literature as a cultural industry, Amazon’s marketing on the Kindle, and Canadian author Douglas Coupland.