The Canada Council for the Arts has revealed the 2018 finalists for the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGBooks).These 70 Canadian books are among the best published this year in seven categories, both in English and in French. They are the works that stood out to peer assessment committees from close to 1,400 titles submitted for consideration.
One of this year’s finalists, Vivian Felsen, is a finalist in the Translation category for her translation of Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu. Felsen is a first-time finalist, based in Toronto.
The connection between Felsen and Segal goes much deeper than her being the translator of this work — Segal was in fact a colleague and friend of Ms. Felsen’s grandfather. The personal connection between the two is a unique bond that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Jacob Isaac Segal: A Montreal Yiddish Poet and His Milieu is a series of poems, lyrics, essays and articles, by the Ukranian-born writer. In the early 1900s, Segal relocated to Montreal, where he became one of the first Yiddish writers in Canada. Felsen translated the work of Pierre Anctil, from French to English, analyzing the artistic, spiritual and cultural importance of Mr. Segal’s work.
The translation depicts both his biography and work highlights, explaining how he lived in Montreal throughout the Holocaust, and how his Yiddish language and writing helped prosper the Jewish culture in Canada.