November is every Canadian bibliophile’s favorite month. The eleventh month is when the country’s most prestigious literary award is presented, the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Basically, it’s the Oscars for Canadian book lovers.
Although there are several other impressive contests, the Giller is by far Canada’s most prestigious and most rewarding literary award; each of the finalists receives $10,000 and the winner receives a whopping $100,000 in prize money. The winner is always announced at a formal gala event, with nearly 500 authors, editors, publishers, and other industry professionals in attendance.
Doris Giller was a hard-working Canadian journalist who worked for the Montreal Star, the Montreal Gazette, and the Toronto Star during her career. After battling cancer for some time, Doris passed away in 1993, and a year later the Giller Prize was established. It was Doris’ husband, Jack Rabinovitch, along with Canadian literary treasures such as Mordecai Richler and Alice Munro, who worked to create this reward opportunity for the country’s diverse artistic talent.
The initial cash award was $25,000. In 2005, though, Scotiabank announced its partnership with the Giller Prize, increasing the prize amount to $50,000 ($40,000 to the winner and $2,500 to each finalist). Three years later, it was again increased, this time to an incredible $100,000.
This year, the short list finalists were announced on September 26th and the winner will be announced on Nov. 7. This year there are six finalists instead of the usual five:
1. 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
This is the story of a young woman’s lifelong issues with body image and how it affects all aspects of her life: career, relationships, self esteem, and every other.
2. Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin
This is a tale of a young Jewish boy, Moishe, told through the voice of his wisecracking parrot friend. He travels, falls in love, and eventually becomes a pirate in search of the Fountain of Youth.
3. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
A young girl claims to have eaten absolutely nothing in several months. A nurse, trained by Florence Nightingale herself, comes to watch over the child and their relationship changes both of their lives in ways they never could have envisioned.
4. The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux
Translated from its original French, this novel explores the complexities of several sibling relationships. The author takes us on the extremely personal, complicated, and heartbreaking journeys to discover the secrets of these brother-sister duos.
5. Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
The main character, Ai-Ming, tells of her Chinese family’s history. It’s a story of music, culture, history, and relationships that take place during the country’s Cultural Revolution.
6. The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall
When a well-respected teacher is accused of sexual misconduct with a student, his family is torn between loving and trusting the man they know, and the doubt that slowly clouds their minds.
The list of previous Scotiabank Giller Prize winners includes some pretty impressive titles:
- 15 Dogs by Andre Alexis (2015)
- Us Conductors by Sean Michaels (2014)
- Hellgoing by Lynn Coady (2013)
- 419 by Will Ferguson (2012)
- Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (2011)
- The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud (2010)
- The Bishop’s Man by Linden MacIntyre (2009)
The 2016 Giller Prize winner will be announced at the gala event that takes place on November 7th. CBC Television will broadcast the event live, and the video recording will be available soon after on the CBC website.
Will you be watching?
YouTube Channel: hfxpublib
Featured image via CBC News