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Dianne Warren holds up her book "Cool Water" after winning the Governor General's award for fiction at a ceremony in Montreal.

Graham Hughes/CP

Regina resident Dianne Warren has won a Governor General's fiction prize for Cool Water, described by the jury as an "exquisitely constructed" novel about a small Saskatchewan town.

Warren, 50, is the author of several short story collections and plays. Her play Serpent in the Night Sky was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award for Drama in 1992. In 2004 she won the Marian Engel Award for a female writer in mid-career.

Cool Water is her first novel, and was also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

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In its praise for the book, the Governor General's fiction jury said Warren "makes each moment shine" and that "her narrative flows seamlessly from character to character, all stunningly depicted."

Kathleen Winter's Annabel had also been in the running for the prize. The tale of a hermaphrodite growing up in Newfoundland, Winter's book was the only title to be nominated for all three major Canadian literary prizes this fall, but failed to win any of them.

The Governor General's award for poetry, meanwhile, was won by Richard Greene of Cobourg, Ont., for Boxing the Compass.

Newfoundlander Robert Chafe picked up the drama prize for Afterimage, and Allan Casey of Saskatoon nabbed the non-fiction award for Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada.

A total of 70 books were finalists for the Governor General's awards, which are funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Each winner receives $25,000 and a special leather-bound copy of his or her book.

The publisher of each winning book gets $3,000 to support promotional activities, while non-winning finalists will each receive $1,000.

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