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Lucky 13 make Giller Prize long list

Brian Bethune looks at the intriguing list — 11 novels and two short-story collections


 

A high-profile jury–Margaret Atwood, 2011 Giller winner Esi Edugyan and American writer Jonathan Lethem–picked an intriguing 13-book long list for the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, which was announced Monday morning in Vancouver.

The two short-story collections—Lynn Coady’s Hellgoing and How To Get Along With Women by Elisabeth De Mariaffi—stand out, not least because of the praise in the jurors’ brief explanation: “Some of the short stories exhibit a scope and breadth one would normally associate with a novel.”

Among the 11 novels to get the nod, noteworthy is Dennis Bock’s Going Home Again, which has brought him reviews reminiscent of his Ash Garden, which was ignored by the Giller jury in 2001. Joseph Boyden, the 2007 winner, is back with The Orenda, joined by other prominent writers—including David Gilmour, Wayne Grady and three Newfoundland authors, Wayne Johnston, Lisa Moore and Michael Winter—on a list with fewer unknowns than last year’s.

The early betting may well coalesce around Moore. She is a writer of exquisite short fiction and the jury, after praising the actual short stories, added “some of the novels on this list have the distilled intensity one expects from short fiction.” Moore is also a two-time previous nominee. There will also be buzz around Wayne Johnston, one of the few major Canadian writers of his generation to not (yet) win the Giller, despite two short list and two long list appearances.

Then there’s simple arithmetic: a Newfoundlander, after all, has a 23 per cent chance of winning.

The long list of nominees:

  • Dennis Bock for his novel Going Home Again, published by HarperCollins Canada
  • Joseph Boyden for his novel The Orenda, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada
  • Lynn Coady for her short story collection Hellgoing, published by House of Anansi Press
  • Craig Davidson for his novel Cataract City, published by Doubleday Canada
  • Elisabeth De Mariaffi for her short story collection How To Get Along With Women, published by Invisible Publishing
  • David Gilmour for his novel Extraordinary, published by Patrick Crean Editions
  • Wayne Grady for his novel Emancipation Day, published by Doubleday Canada
  • Louis Hamelin for his novel October 1970, translated by Wayne Grady and published by House of Anansi Press
  • Wayne Johnston for his novel The Son of a Certain Woman, published by Knopf Canada
  • Claire Messud for her novel The Woman Upstairs, published by Knopf Canada
  • Lisa Moore for her novel Caught, published by House of Anansi Press
  • Dan Vyleta for his novel The Crooked Maid, published by HarperCollins Canada
  • Michael Winter for his novel Minister Without Portfolio, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada

This is the 20th anniversary of the Giller Prize. The cash prize is the largest award for fiction writers in Canada.

The finalists will be announced at an event in Toronto on Oct. 8.


 

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