Scotiabank Giller Prize

by Mariya Guzova

This year, the Scotiabank Giller Prize jury read 161 works of fiction submitted by 63 publishers from every region of Canada. The shortlist has 6 finalists made up of David Bezmozgis, Frances Itani, Sean Michaels, Heather O’Neill, Miriam Toews, and Padma Viswanathan.

The winner will be announced on November 10th, and receive a $100, 000 cash prize.

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The award was founded in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch. “Jack decided that it was the right time to celebrate the success of these and other homegrown writers within Canada, and to give them a bold statement of support and recognition,” explains Michelle Kadarusman of the Giller prize committee.

The Giller Prize was named after the late literary journalist Doris Giller. By the 1990s Canadian writers were gaining recognition from beyond the Canadian border. Acclaimed writers such as Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Mordecai Richler were winning honours and accolades around the world.

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Esi Edugyan,Jonathan Lethem,Margaret Atwood and Jack Rabinovitch at last the Giller Prize Gala 2013.

Through its partnership with Scotiabank in 2005, the Giller prize was able to grow from $25, 000 to a $100, 000 cash prize for the winner and $10, 000 for each of the (how many) finalists. “We want to recognize the work of these incredible writers and show support,” adds Michelle, “and the cash prize is way for us to keep the literary community thriving.”

The shortlist of finalists was announced in early October and was derived from a longlist of 12 books by this year’s Jury. This year’s jury includes Canadian author Shauna Singh Baldwin, British novelist Justin Cartwright, and American writer Francine Prose.

Finalist Heather O’Neill’s second novel, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night describes what it is like to be young and to have a lifetime of experience and grief already behind you,” explains Michelle. O’Neill released her first novel Lullabies for Little Criminals in 2006, and it quickly became an international best seller.

“The extraordinary feat of David Bezmozgis’s novel is to have captured in one day a whole universe of betrayal and morality,” explains Michelle. The Croatian-born Canadian writer has won a wide variety of awards for his previous works, which include Natasha and Other Stories and The Free World. Bezmozgis was named one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40″ writers in 2010, and The Betrayers is already a national best seller in Canada.

Justin Cartwright, award winning British author, is a juror for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

To learn more about the authors, jurors and program go to Scotiabank Giller Prize.

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