The 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist Nominees Are…

Five titles vie for Canada’s richest literary prize.

One of the following five Canadian authors will find themselves $100,000 richer and immeasurably more visible on the crowded literary landscape when the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize is handed out in November.

The announcement of the Giller Prize shortlist, made this morning by comedian Rick Mercer and this year’s panel of judges – John Boyne, Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod and Alison Pick – revealed the quintet vying for Canada’s richest literary prize:

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Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis: A tale about a wager between a pair of Greek gods that bestows human consciousness to a group of dogs in a Toronto shelter. The Toronto Star noted it’s, “teeming with existential reflections … In the same vein as George Orwell’s Animal Farm, Fifteen Dogs reveals universal truths about human nature by transferring consciousness and conscience to animals.” Alexis is no stranger to award success, winning the Books in Canada First Novel Award for his debut, Childhood, which also received a Giller nomination in 1998.

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Arvida by Samuel Archibald: Arvida, a collection of short stories, caught the Francophone literary world’s attention when it was published in 2011, winning the French language Prix Coup de cœur Renaud-Bray a year later. Archibald, a Université du Québec à Montréal professor of film and literature, sees the English translation of his work nominated for this year’s Giller.

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Outline by Rachel Cusk: The Telegraph says, “Rachel Cusk’s daring use of an almost silent narrator speaks volumes,” in this novel told through conversations that follow a writer teaching a summer course in Athens. Cusk, whose literary trophy case already beams with honours, saw this book singled out as one of last year’s top reads by publications from The Guardian to The New Yorker.

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Daydreams of Angels by Heather O’Neill: O’Neill’s collection of highly original short stories offers the writer, “ample room to grow in a collection that seeks to celebrate the magic and madness of those often relegated to society’s margins,” according to The Quill and Quire. Of course, if O’Neill’s name sounds familiar it may be because her first tome was the 2007 Canada Reads winner Lullabies for Little Criminals, while last year she was Giller shortlisted for The Girl Who Was Saturday Night – which, by the way, makes her the only author to ever be shortlisted for the prize two years in a row. Whether that also makes her the frontrunner remains to be seen.

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Martin John by Anakana Schofield: This novel follows the title character – a man struggling with mental illness – as he navigates life in London, England. “Schofield takes the piss out of systems, be they mental, familial, or civic transit, and the novel is an exhilarating follow up to her Amazon.ca First Novel Award winning Malarky,” crowed The National Post, which also called Schofield, “one of the highest-flying and funniest [authors] working today.”

The winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize will be announced at a gala on November 10. For more information, visit www.scotiabankgillerprize.ca.