Our Guide to the Giller Prize: Everything You Need to Know

Most bibliophiles have already placed their bets and are anxiously awaiting the naming of this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize winner. But if you’re late to the game, here’s a round-up of the pertinent facts and statistics.

Eyes on the Prize
The prize for what is recognized as Canada’s most prestigious literary prize is $100,000 for the winner and $10,000 to each finalist.

Head Coach
Jack Rabinovitch founded The Giller Prize in 1994 in honour of his late wife Doris Giller, a literary journalist who died of cancer in April 1993. In this endeavor he was helped by several friends in the literary community, included the late Mordecai Richler (who won the prize in 1997) and recent Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro (who herself won the Giller in 1998 and 2004).

In 2005, The Giller Prize teamed up with Scotiabank to create the Scotiabank Giller Prize, making it Canada’s richest literary award for fiction.

Panel of Judges
The shortlist was selected by a five-member jury panel made up of Irish author John Boyne (Jury Chair), Canadian writers Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod and Alison Pick, and British author Helen Oyeyemi.

Daydreams of Angels by Heather O’Neill

Martin John by Anakana Schofield

Fun Facts You May Not Know
– Invitees in Toronto receive a red rose with their invitation. It is one of the most coveted invitations of the year.
– At each gala, no matter the menu, attendees are served french fries reportedly flown in from Montreal in honour of it being one of Doris Giller’s favourite foods.
– Unofficially, each table at the gala runs a betting pool (usually at $20/head) and the individuals who correctly pick the winner split the proceeds.
– Nominated works receive a bump in sales, and the winning title experiences the “Giller effect,” a notable spike in the number of copies sold.

The winner will be revealed at the annual Scotiabank Giller Prize gala, which will air on CBC Television on Tuesday, Nov. 10.