Nothing says autumn like the beginning of literary award season. Along with the announcement of The Booker Prize shortlist, we also saw the longlist announcement of 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s largest literary prize, which awards $100,000 to the winner.
Common to both lists? The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s much-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. (Of course, virtually no one has read the sequel yet; it doesn’t publish until next week, and security around it has been very tight.)
There were other familiar names on the Giller longlist, which was announced this morning in St. John’s, by 2018 (and 2011) Giller-winner Esi Eduygyan (whose husband Steven Price is on the list for his novel Lampedusa).
The 12 longlisted Giller Prize nominees are (in alphabetical order):
- Andre Alexis for his novel Days by Moonlight. This marks Alexis’s third time on the longlist; he was on the shortlist for Childhood in 1998 and won in 2015 for Fifteen Dogs.
- Margaret Atwood for her novel The Testaments. Atwood has already been on the Giller longlist three times: for Oryx and Crake in 2003 and The Year of the Flood in 2009, and winning Alias Grace in 1996.
- David Bezmozgis for his short-story collection Immigrant City. This is also his third nomination; for The Betrayers in 2014 and for The Free World in 2011.
- Michael Christie for Greenwood. Christie is another third-time nominee, for The Beggar’s Garden in 2011 and If I Fall, If I Die in 2015.
- Megan Gail Coles for her novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club.
- Michael Crummey for his novel The Innocents. He was on the Giller shortlist for River Thieves in 2001.
- Adam Foulds for his novel Dream Sequence.
- K.D. Miller for her short-story collection Late Breaking.
- Alix Ohlin for her novel Dual Citizens. She was in the shortlist for Inside in 2012.
- Steven Price for his novel Lampedusa. He was also longlisted for By Gaslight in 2016.
- Zalika Reid-Benta for her short-story collection Frying Plantain.
- Ian Williams for his novel Reproduction.
The longlist was selected by the Giller Prize’s five-member jury panel: Canadian authors Donna Bailey Nurse, Randy Boyagoda (jury chair) and Canadian playwright José Teodoro, joined by Scottish-Sierra Leonean author Aminatta Forna and Bosnian-American author Aleksandar (Sasha) Hemon.
Of the longlist, the jury wrote:
“Over the past few months, we have had the opportunity to read a selection of books that speak to the distinctive vitality of Canadian writing now. The 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist reveals and affirms a welcome and timely truth: Canadian fiction in 2019 is as confident in its exploration and interrogation of the local as it is curious and voracious in its engagement with the world beyond our borders, with time and place being understood in ways that are expansive, warping, and unexpectedly intimate. These books make it plain that great writing happens when art and ideas matter over all else in establishing the imaginative terrain that readers are invited, inspired, and challenged to explore.”
The Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $100,000 “to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English,” and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The award is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller by her husband Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch, who passed away in August 2017.
This year’s shortlist will be announced in Toronto on September 30th.