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Toronto based poet and filmmaker Ann Shin wins Trillium Book Award

A woman walks past a Toronto Public Library . THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO — A tale of two lovers separated in North Korea has won Ontario’s top literary prize.

The Toronto-based poet and filmmaker Ann Shin took home this year’s Trillium Book Award for “The Last Exiles,” published by Park Row.

The novel spins the story of a privileged young woman and her impoverished lover, who attempt to escape from Kim Jong-il’s totalitarian regime.

Robert Marinier’s “Un conte de l’apocalypse,” published by Editions Prise de parole, nabbed the French-language Trillium Book Award.

Each author receives $20,000 for Trillium’s main book prize, which recognizes literary excellence across genres. Their publishers receive $2,500 to promote the titles.

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The Trillium Book Award for Poetry, which honours one of the first three works by an emerging writer, went to Bardia Sinaee for his collection “Intruder,” from House of Anansi Press.

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The French-language equivalent prize was awarded to Chloe LaDuchesse for “Exosquelette,” published by Memoire d’encrier.

In each of these categories, the author receives $10,000, and the publisher receives $2,000.

The Trillium Book Award, established in 1987, is presented by the provincial agency Ontario Creates.

Previous winners include Dionne Brand, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood and Thomas King.

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