The Giller Prize Shortlist

I have a bit of an obsession with book awards I’m afraid. Autumn is book award season in Canada, so I’m pretty much giddy all autumn long with all the announcements: longlists, shortlists and don’t even get me started on winners! With that said, you won’t be surprised to hear that I was glued to my Twitter account yesterday to see the announcement of the titles listed for this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize (@GillerPrize).

The longlist of 13 was announced back in September and it was a good one: a pleasing range of new and old names from across the country with a range of fiction titles to meet a variety of tastes. How did we fare with the shortlist? Well, you tell me: here are the books.

Cataract City (M) by Craig Davidson: the story of two men who “dream of escape, a longing made more urgent by a traumatic childhood incident that has cemented their friendship”.

Caught (M) by Lisa Moore: fresh off her Canada Reads win for 2009 book February, Moore gets the nod for her latest about a man who “has escaped from prison, and now he must make good on the heist that went wrong and win back the woman he loves”.

The Crooked Maid (M) by Dan Vyleta: “From the writer praised as a cross between Hitchcock and Dostoyevsky, a dark and suspenseful novel set in post-war Vienna among the spectators in a criminal trial”.

Going Home Again (M) by Denis Bock: “A wrenching and dramatic story that explores the fabric of family…”

Hellgoing (M) by Lynn Coady: a previous Giller finalist gives us “nine unforgettable new stories, each one of them grabbing our attention from the first line and resonating long after the last”.

Book awards give us a great chance to talk about literature. Of note for me is good representation from East Coast writers, and a lack of debut writers but certainly a couple that I don’t think are yet household names. There was at least one big surprise for me—I thought Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda (M) would be a shoo-in for the Giller (although it Governor General’s Award for Fiction finalist), and one disappointment—I was cheering for local indie Invisible Publishing’s How to Get Along With Women (M) by Newfoundland author Elisabeth De Mariaffi to make the final cut. What are your thoughts on the short list? Had you read any (or all!) of the longlist, will you read the shortlisted titles? Or do these awards make any difference at all in your reading patterns?

We’ve now got our short lists for the big three Canadian book awards: it’s time to get reading and wait for the winners announcement. The Governor Generals’ Awards winners will be announced November 13, The Writer’s Trust Awards will announced winners November 20. The Giller Prize announces its winner November 5.

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