Order of Canada, the morning after

Sometimes it is just silly to affect being blasé. It will appear false, contrived. So I’ll repeat what I said yesterday on Twitter: I am feeling honoured and humble, both. I am also truly touched by the responses that have come in the last half day, both public and private. Those Nigerian fellows offering to give me big shares in a diamond enterprise for relatively modest sums of money have been especially enthusiastic.

For those who missed it (most of the world, as it has to be!) it was announced from the office of the Governor General of Canada yesterday afternoon that I have been named to the Order of Canada. This is, I have learned, not our highest civilian honour. It is second. The highest (I love this stuff) is the Order of Merit, which is ‘in the personal gift’ of Queen Elizabeth II (!), with only 24 people at a time, chosen by her from all countries in the Commonwealth. Then Canada has the O.C. The Order was created in 1967 (Canada’s centennial year) to replace knighthoods and other dignities conferred from London to that point.

A formal Investiture ceremony, with a medal presented by the Governor General, and a Citation read out for each person, with details of why they are being honoured, comes later, at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

For this holiday morning, I just want to thank those who have expressed their support and pleasure. I also want to extend my congratulations to the others named or elevated in rank yesterday, especially David Cronenberg, whom I’ve known a long time, and Chris Hadfield, who brought a different kind of star status to Canada. I have also declined the diamond mine. Here is part of Penguin Canada’s press release, which went out yesterday afternoon:



– Chris Hadfield, Rick Mercer among other 2014 recipients –

– David Cronenberg promoted to companion, the highest level within the order –

June 30, 2014 (Toronto) – Penguin Canada is pleased to announce that Guy Gavriel Kay has been named a Member of the Order of Canada for his outstanding contributions to the field of speculative fiction as an internationally celebrated author.

Kay is the bestselling author of twelve novels and a book of poetry. He has been called “one of the most gifted storytellers of our time” by The Globe and Mail, and his works have been translated into more than 25 languages, with sales approaching three million copies worldwide.

In the 1970s, he was retained by the Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien to assist in the editorial construction of Tolkien’s posthumously published The Silmarillion. In 1984, Kay’s first novel, The Summer Tree, the first volume of The Fionavar Tapestry, was published to considerable acclaim in Canada, and internationally. In 1990, Penguin Canada’s edition of his novel Tigana reached the national bestseller list, and his next book, A Song for Arbonne, debuted in the number-one position. Kay has been a bestseller with each novel since. The Sunday Times called his most recent novel, River of Stars, “a work to savour” and the Washington Post called it a “major accomplishment, the work of a master novelist in full command of his subject.”

Kay was born in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, and raised in Winnipeg. He received a law degree from the University of Toronto and was called to the bar in Ontario. Kay became principal writer and associate producer for the CBC Radio series, The Scales of Justice, which dramatized major criminal trials in Canadian history. He has written social and political commentary in Canada for the National Post and The Globe and Mail, and for The Guardian in England.

Kay has toured and read on behalf of his publishers and at literary events across Canada, the United States, and internationally. He was awarded the International Goliardos Prize for his contributions to the literature of the fantastic, is a two-time winner of the Aurora Award, won the World Fantasy Award for Ysabel in 2008, and won the Sunburst Prize for best Canadian speculative fiction novel for Under Heaven in 2011. Kay is currently at work on his next novel, due to be published in 2016.


About the Order of Canada

Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country.

For more information about the most recent appointments to the Order of Canada, please visit: http://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=15694&lan=eng




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