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2019 Finalists2019-09-30T19:04:50+00:00

2019 Shortlist

The 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury announced its shortlist on Monday, September 30, 2019. The six titles were chosen from a longlist of 12 books announced in St. John’s, NL on September 3, 2019. One hundred and seventeen titles were submitted from publishers across the country.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis

Biography

David Bezmozgis is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. His debut story collection, Natasha and Other Stories, won the Toronto Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His first novel, The Free World, was a finalist for both the Governor General’s Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His second novel, The Betrayers, was also a Giller Prize finalist and the winner of the National Jewish Book Award. His writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, and The Best American Short Stories. David has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library and a Radcliffe Fellow. He is the director of the Humber School for Writers. Born in Riga, Latvia, David lives in Toronto.

Jury Citation

“The heart barks like a dog,” writes David Bezmozgis in one of the short stories contained in Immigrant City, and the bark echoes down generations, interrupting the everyday, vibrating with nostalgia and lost memories. In this wise and assured collection, Bezmozgis has reimagined immigrant lives not simply as marked by displacement and discontinuity, but of immigration as a shared and binding experience that crosses the boundaries of race, nationality, occupation, class, politics and even past betrayals, to serve as a point of connection and compassion between Bezmozgis’s characters.

View the excerpt
Published by House of Anansi Press

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles

Biography

Megan Gail Coles is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, National Theatre School of Canada and recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts from University of British Columbia. She has written numerous plays, and her first short fiction collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, won the BMO Winterset Award, the ReLit Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award and earned her the Writers’ Trust 5×5 prize. Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club is her debut novel. Originally from Savage Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Megan currently resides in Montreal where she is a PhD candidate at Concordia University.

Jury Citation

Early in Small Game Hunting, a Nigerian immigrant asks the heroine about her true origins:”You don’t look all-white,” he says. In other words, this is not your traditional Newfoundland novel of social isolation. Instead, Megan Gail Coles portrays the harsh existence of the islanders’as emblematic of the human condition itself. The characters’ lives unfold around a fine restaurant. They are physically and emotionally crippled by their society’s devastating inequalities, the women psychologically maimed by repeated sexual assault. Coles’s narrator storms against the status quo in a kinetic novel that dazzles, challenges and exhilarates.

View the excerpt

 

Published by Doubleday Canada

The Innocents by Michael Crummey

Biography

Michael Crummey’s first novel, River Thieves, was a finalist for the 2001 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and his second novel, The Wreckage, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His third novel, Galore, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean) and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His most recent novel, Sweetland, was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Jury Citation

Written in a language that is at the same time fresh and ancient, Michael Crummey’s The Innocents is a (mis)creation myth that demands a reconsideration of what we think we know about love and death, family and loneliness, oblivion and wisdom, horror and beauty, bodies and knowledge, violence and desire. Anchored in exquisite specificity and heartbreaking simplicity, and inviting us into a distant past that makes fresh matters of ever-present concern about survival and sacrifice, Crummey’s novel has the capacity to change the way the reader sees the world.

View the excerpt
Published by House of Anansi Press

Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin

Biography

Alix Ohlin is the author of four books, most recently the novel Inside, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other publications. Born and raised in Montreal, she lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.

Jury Citation

Chronicling the wayward trajectories of two very different but equally fascinating Montreal-bred sisters from childhood into midlife, Alix Ohlin’s novel, true to its title, quietly refutes monolithic tenets that regard identity as something fixed and singular. Dividing its narrative between Canada and the U.S., the urban and the wild, solitude and solidarity, creativity and caregiving, Dual Citizens is a long-term sororal love story and affecting double-portrait of female self-actualization untethered from established paradigms of ambition. 

View the excerpt
Published by McClelland & Stewart

Lampedusa by Steven Price

Biography

Steven Price is the author of two novels, By Gaslight (2016), longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Into That Darkness (2011). Also an acclaimed poet, he has written two award-winning poetry books, Anatomy of Keys (2006), winner of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and Omens in the Year of the Ox (2012), winner of the ReLit Award. He lives in Victoria, B.C.

Jury Citation

Lampedusa is a fairy tale about a dying prince, the last of his line, the real-life Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, author of the beloved Italian novel The Leopard. Steven Price powerfully imagines Tomasi’s final days as the ailing author struggles to complete and publish his treasured manuscript. Set in a post war Palermo of bombed-out buildings and ruined palazzos, the novel contemplates what values are worth retaining in life and in art. A masterful storyteller, Price conjures Tomasi with language and images that evocatively fix him and his distant world indelibly in our minds.

View the excerpt
Published by Random House Canada

Reproduction by Ian Williams

Biography

Ian Williams is the author of Personals, shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award; Not Anyone’s Anything, winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada; and You Know Who You Are, a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry. He was named as one of ten Canadian writers to watch by CBC. Williams completed his Ph.D. in English at the University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor of poetry in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia. He was the 2014-2015 Canadian Writer-in-Residence for the University of Calgary’s Distinguished Writers Programme. He has held fellowships or residencies from the Banff Center, Vermont Studio Center, Cave Canem, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Palazzo Rinaldi in Italy. He was also a scholar at the National Humanities Center Summer Institute for Literary Study and is a judge for the 2018 Griffin prize. His writing has appeared in several North American journals and anthologies.

Jury Citation

Ian Williams’s Reproduction is many things at once. It’s an engrossing story of disparate people brought together and also a masterful unfolding of unexpected connections and collisions between and across lives otherwise separated by race, class, gender and geography. It’s a pointed and often playful plotting out of individual and shared stories in the close spaces of hospital rooms, garages, mansions and apartments, and a symphonic performance of resonant and dissonant voices, those of persons wanting to impress persuade, deny, or beguile others, and always trying again.

View the excerpt

2019 Longlist

The 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury announced its longlist on Monday, September 3, 2019. The 12 titles were chosen from a field of 117 books submitted by publishers all across Canada. The longlist was selected by an esteemed 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 2019 longlist, the jury writes:

“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.”

Published by Coach House Books

Days by Moonlight by André Alexis

Biography

André Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His most recent novel, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His other books include Pastoral (nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize), Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Lambton, Kent and Other Vistas: A Play.

Published by McClelland & Stewart

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Biography

Margaret Atwood, whose work has been published in more than forty-five countries, is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series, her novels include Cat’s Eye, shortlisted for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; The MaddAddam Trilogy; The Heart Goes Last; and Hag-Seed. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the Franz Kafka International Literary Prize, the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She lives in Toronto with the writer Graeme Gibson.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis

Biography

David Bezmozgis is an award-winning writer and filmmaker. His debut story collection, Natasha and Other Stories, won the Toronto Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His first novel, The Free World, was a finalist for both the Governor General’s Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His second novel, The Betrayers, was also a Giller Prize finalist and the winner of the National Jewish Book Award. His writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, and The Best American Short Stories. David has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library and a Radcliffe Fellow. He is the director of the Humber School for Writers. Born in Riga, Latvia, David lives in Toronto.

Published by McClelland & Stewart

Greenwood by Michael Christie

Biography

Michael Christie’s previous novel, If I Fall, If I Die, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Kirkus Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice title. He is also the author of a linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the Vancouver Book Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Globe and Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, he divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, where he lives with his wife and two sons in a timber frame house that he built himself.

Published by House of Anansi Press

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles

Biography

Megan Gail Coles is a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, National Theatre School of Canada and recently completed a Masters of Fine Arts from University of British Columbia. She has written numerous plays, and her first short fiction collection, Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome, won the BMO Winterset Award, the ReLit Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award and earned her the Writers’ Trust 5×5 prize. Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club is her debut novel. Originally from Savage Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, Megan currently resides in Montreal where she is a PhD candidate at Concordia University.

Published by Doubleday Canada

The Innocents by Michael Crummey

Biography

Michael Crummey’s first novel, River Thieves, was a finalist for the 2001 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and his second novel, The Wreckage, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His third novel, Galore, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean) and was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His most recent novel, Sweetland, was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Published by Biblioasis

Dream Sequence by Adam Foulds

Biography

Adam Foulds is a poet and novelist from London, England, now resident in Toronto. He has been the recipient of a number of literary awards, including the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year, the Costa Poetry Award, the Somerset Maugham Award, the South Bank Show Award for Literature, the E. M. Forster Award, the Encore Award, and the European Union Prize for Literature. His 2009 novel, The Quickening Maze, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2010. He was named as one of Granta Magazine’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2013 and Poetry Book Society’s Next Generation Poets in 2014. His novel In The Wolf’s Mouth was published by Jonathan Cape in 2014, and his newest, Dream Sequence, was published by Biblioasis in 2019.

Published by Biblioasis

Late Breaking by K.D. Miller

Biography

K.D. Miller’s short stories have been nominated for the Journey Prize, published widely in Canadian magazines and broadcast by CBC. She has published four collections of stories, a collection of personal essays, and a novel. Give Me Your Answer was short-listed for the inaugural Upper Canada Brewing Company’s Writer’s Craft Award and named by Toronto Star as one of the ten best books of 1999. All Saints was short-listed for the 2014 Rogers Writers’ Trust award and named as one of the ten best books of the year by Globe and Mail. Her most recent story collection, Late Breaking, was named a Best Book of 2018 by both Toronto Star and Quill & Quire.

Published by House of Anansi Press

Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin

Biography

Alix Ohlin is the author of four books, most recently the novel Inside, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other publications. Born and raised in Montreal, she lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia

Published by McClelland & Stewart

Lampedusa by Steven Price

Biography

Steven Price is the author of two novels, By Gaslight (2016), longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Into That Darkness (2011). Also an acclaimed poet, he has written two award-winning poetry books, Anatomy of Keys (2006), winner of the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, and Omens in the Year of the Ox (2012), winner of the ReLit Award. He lives in Victoria, B.C.

Published by Astoria, an imprint of House of Anansi Press

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta

Biography

Zalika Reid-Benta is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared on CBC Books, in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, and in Apogee Journal. In 2011, George Elliott Clarke recommended her as a “Writer to Watch.” She received an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University in 2014 and is an alumnus of the 2017 Banff Writing Studio. She completed a double major in English Literature and Cinema and a minor in Caribbean Studies at University of Toronto’s Victoria College. She also studied Creative Writing at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies. She is currently working on a young-adult fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jamaican folklore and Akan spirituality.

Published by Random House Canada

Reproduction by Ian Williams

Biography

Ian Williams is the author of Personals, shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award; Not Anyone’s Anything, winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada; and You Know Who You Are, a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry. He was named as one of ten Canadian writers to watch by CBC. Williams completed his Ph.D. in English at the University of Toronto and is currently an assistant professor of poetry in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia. He was the 2014-2015 Canadian Writer-in-Residence for the University of Calgary’s Distinguished Writers Programme. He has held fellowships or residencies from the Banff Center, Vermont Studio Center, Cave Canem, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and Palazzo Rinaldi in Italy. He was also a scholar at the National Humanities Center Summer Institute for Literary Study and is a judge for the 2018 Griffin prize. His writing has appeared in several North American journals and anthologies.

Jury

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is pleased to announce the award-winning, five-member jury panel for the 2019 prize. They are Canadian authors Donna Bailey Nurse and Randy Boyagoda (jury chair), Canadian playwright José Teodoro, Scottish-Sierra Leonean author Aminatta Forna and Bosnian-American author Aleksandar (Sasha) Hemon.

Randy Boyagoda

Biography

Randy Boyagoda is the author of five books, including three works of fiction. His debut novel, Governor of the Northern Province, was nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2006. His second novel, Beggar’s Feast, was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize and selected as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. His most recent novel, Original Prin, was published in 2018 and was named a Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year. He is the Principal and Vice-President of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, a Professor of English, and holds the Basilian Chair in Christianity, Arts, and Letters. Boyagoda served as President of PEN Canada from 2015-2017 and lives in Toronto.

Aminatta Forna

Biography

Aminatta Forna is an award-winning novelist, essayist and memoirist. Her novels include Happiness, The Hired Man and The Memory of Love, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Aidoo Snyder Prize and Germany’s Literaturpreis. Her work has been translated into more than 20 languages and her essays on society, politics and culture have appeared in Freeman’s, Granta, The Guardian, The Nation and The New York Review of Books. Forna is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a recipient of a Windham Campbell Award and was made OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours 2017. She currently lives in Arlington, Virginia.

Aleksandar Hemon

Biography

Aleksandar Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, The Book of My Lives, and The Making of Zombie Wars. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation, the Jan Michalski Prize for Literature, the PEN/ W.G. Sebald Award, 2012 USA Fellowship, and most recently 2017 PEN/Jean Stein Grant for Oral History. He teaches at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Donna Bailey Nurse

Biography

Donna Bailey Nurse is a leading literary critic, editor of the ground breaking Revival: An Anthology of Black Canadian Writing and author of What’s A Black Critic to Do. A former member of the Toronto Arts Council’s Literary Arts Committee, Bailey Nurse has curated reading series in conjunction with the Toronto Public Library and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She is a contributor to Maclean’s, The Walrus and The Literary Review of Canada, and a columnist for The Next Chapter on CBC Radio. Her work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star. She lives in Pickering, Ontario.

José Teodoro

Biography

José Teodoro is the author of several plays, including Mote, Cloudless, The Tourist and Slowly, an exchange is taking place. Teodoro’s play Steps was recently published in Playwrights Canada Press’ anthology Long Story Short. He has worked as story editor on acclaimed films including Hugh Gibson’s documentary feature The Stairs, winner of the TFCA’s 2016 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, and Lina Rodríguez’s Señoritas and This Time Tomorrow. Teodoro is currently developing a book of conversations with Swiss-Canadian filmmaker Peter Mettler entitled Nothing But Time. He lives in Toronto.