2020 Shortlist

The 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury announced the shortlist on Monday, October 5, 2020.

Published by House of Anansi Press

“Ridgerunner

Biography

Gil Adamson is the critically acclaimed author of The Outlander, which won the Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the ReLit Award, and the Drummer General’s Award. It was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, CBC Canada Reads, and the Prix Femina in France; longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and chosen as a Globe and Mail and Washington Post Top 100 Book. She is also the author of a collection of linked stories, Help Me, Jacques Cousteau, and two poetry collections, Primitive and Ashland. She lives in Toronto.

Jury Citation

“The long-awaited sequel to Gil Adamson’s hit The Outlander moves the action forward a decade, returning the 13-year-old son of the original protagonists to a forested land into which prisoners of the first world war are now hewing roads. The proximity of this new type of outlaw presents an existential threat to young Jack, who takes refuge in his parents’ abandoned shack with a price on his head after escaping the toxic hypocrisies of ‘civilisation’. Drawing richly on both the Western and on gothic fiction, Adamson evokes a mythic landscape to frame the question: how is it possible to live a good life, when obedience to man-made laws is so at odds with love, loyalty and respect for the natural world?”

View the excerpt
Published by Biblioasis

“Here the Dark

Biography

David Bergen has published eight novels and a collection of short stories. His work has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Impac Dublin Literary Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He won the Giller Prize for his novel The Time in Between. In 2018, he was given the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life.

Jury Citation

“A dying woman asks an aging rancher to become her last lover. A fishing boat sputters to a halt off the coast of Honduras, compelling its owner to decide the fate of his repellent client. A young woman in a puritanical religious community glimpses the coloured world outside, and must choose whether to close her eyes, or to run. Sexual loneliness and moral confusion pull at the delicately wrought characters in David Bergen’s latest work, a story collection of masterly skill and tension. His third appearance on the Giller shortlist – including the 2005 winner, The Time in Between – affirms Bergen among Canada’s most powerful writers. His pages light up; all around falls into darkness.”

View the excerpt
Published by Book*hug Press

Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo

Biography

Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland, grew up in Trinidad, and lives in Canada. She holds an MA in English from the University of Guelph, writes fiction and poetry, and is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited locally and internationally. Mootoo’s critically acclaimed novels include Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, Valmiki’s Daughter, He Drown She in the Sea, and Cereus Blooms at Night. She is a recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and the James Duggins Mid-Career Novelist Award from the Lambda Literary Awards. Her work has been long- and shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the International DUBLIN Literary Award, and the Booker Prize. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Jury Citation

“A keen meditation on the complexities of identity and desire, Polar Vortex is the unsettling examination of a failing marriage.  In a small, southern Ontario town, Priya impulsively invites an old suitor, Prakesh, to spend the night and his arrival triggers the fault lines in her relationship with Alexandra.  Conflicting wants and untold truths drag the past into the present.  Memories cascade and clash as Mootoo masterfully dismantles the stories the narrators tell themselves in language as unsparing as winter.”

View the excerpt
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Biography

Emily St. John Mandel is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books; and has been translated into thirty-one languages. A previous novel, The Singer’s Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystère de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Jury Citation

“A boldly lyrical tale echoing the deceit and ruin of the 2008 financial crisis, The Glass Hotel brings together two restless siblings and a multi-billion-dollar investor as they each negotiate ambition, secrets, and loss within the kingdom of money.  Bridging the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, the shops and towers of Manhattan, and the netherworld of open waters, the novel commands a broad array of characters and a plot of kaleidoscopic intricacy.  Here, in her eagerly anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel turns her gifted attention to the mirages of now, and to the truth that we are haunted, always, by the lives of others.”

View the excerpt
Published by McLelland & Stewart, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Biography

Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. How to Pronounce Knife is her debut book of fiction, and the title story was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel.

Jury Citation

“The Scotiabank Giller Prize introduced me to Souvankham Thammavongsa’s work. I could not be more grateful. How to Pronounce Knife is a stunning collection of stories that portray the immigrant experience in achingly beautiful prose. The emotional expanse chronicled in this collection is truly remarkable. These stories are vessels of hope, of hurt, of rejection, of loss and of finding one’s footing in a new and strange land. Thammavongsa’s fiction cuts to the core of the immigrant reality like a knife – however you pronounce it.”

View the excerpt

2020 Longlist

The 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury announced its longlist on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The 14 titles were chosen from a field of 118 books submitted by publishers all across Canada.

Of the 2020 longlist, the jury writes:

“In this tumultuous year, the jurors took the responsibility bestowed upon us by the Scotiabank Giller Prize most seriously. We were determined to find the most powerful pieces of fiction published this year. And, despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic, we experienced an embarrassment of riches. Exquisite prose has emerged from many parts of Canada and multiple walks of life; and we have filled our months with witty, intense, and achingly beautiful stories. We are proud of the collection of books that has emerged from our lengthy debates; and we believe that this longlist is but one clear reflection of the talent and global relevance of Canadian writers. To the nominees, we offer our sincere gratitude and our heartfelt congratulations.”

Published by House of Anansi Press

Ridgerunner by Gil Adamson

Biography

Gil Adamson is the critically acclaimed author of The Outlander, which won the Dashiell Hammett Prize for Literary Excellence in Crime Writing, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, the ReLit Award, and the Drummer General’s Award. It was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, CBC Canada Reads, and the Prix Femina in France; longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award; and chosen as a Globe and Mail and Washington Post Top 100 Book. She is also the author of a collection of linked stories, Help Me, Jacques Cousteau, and two poetry collections, Primitive and Ashland. She lives in Toronto.

Published by Biblioasis

Here the Dark by David Bergen

Biography

David Bergen has published eight novels and a collection of short stories. His work has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Impac Dublin Literary Award, and a Pushcart Prize. He won the Giller Prize for his novel The Time in Between. In 2018, he was given the Writers’ Trust Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life.

Published by House of Anansi Press

Watching You Without Me by Lynn Coady

Biography

Lynn Coady is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of six books, including Hellgoing, which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and was an Amazon.ca and Globe and Mail Best Book. She is also the author of The Antagonist, winner of the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first novel, Strange Heaven, published when she was just twenty-eight, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Her books have been published in the U.K., U.S., Holland, France, and Germany. Coady lives in Toronto and writes for television.

Published by House of Anansi Press

All I Ask by Eva Crocker

Biography

Eva Crocker is the author of the critically acclaimed debut short story collection Barrelling Forward, which won the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction and the CAA Emerging Writer Award, was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers and the NLCU Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers, and was a National Post Best Book.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

Biography

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is an Irish emigrant twice over: she spent eight years in Cambridge, England, before moving to Canada’s London, Ontario. She is best known for her novels, which range from the historical (The Wonder, Slammerkin, Life Mask, The Sealed Letter) to the contemporary (Akin, Stir-Fry, Hood, Landing). Her international bestseller Room was a New York Times Best Book of 2010 and was a finalist for the Man Booker, Commonwealth, and Orange Prizes; her screen adaptation, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, was nominated for four Academy Awards.

Facebook: @EmmaDonoghueWriter
Twitter: @EDonoghueWriter
Website: www.emmadonoghue.com

Published by Arsenal Pulp Press

Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi

Biography

Francesca Ekwuyasi is a writer, artist, and filmmaker born in Lagos, Nigeria. Her work explores themes of faith, family, queerness, consumption, loneliness, and belonging. Her writing has been published in Winter Tangerine Review, Brittle Paper, Transition Magazine, the Malahat Review, Visual Art News, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and GUTS magazine. Her story “Ọrun is Heaven” was longlisted for the 2019 Journey Prize. Butter Honey Pig Bread is her first novel. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Give Little Indians by Michelle Good

Biography

Michelle Good is a Cree writer and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. After working for Indigenous organizations for twenty-five years and advocating for residential school survivors, she obtained a law degree. She earned her MFA in creative writing at UBC while still practicing law. Her poems, short stories and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada. Michelle Good now lives in the southern Okanagan in BC.

Published by Véhicule Press

Dominoes At The Crossroads by Kaie Kellough

Biography

Kaie Kellough is a novelist, sound performer, and poet. His latest collection of poems, Magnetic Equator, will be released by McClelland and Stewart in March 2019. His upcoming collection of short fiction, Dominoes at the Crossroads, will be released by Véhicule Press in the fall of 2019. His novel Accordéon, published in 2016, was shortlisted for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. He has released two audio recordings that explore sound poetics with instrumentation. His work migrates between poetry and fiction, between Canada and the Caribbean, and between text and sound. He lives in Montreal.

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Indians on Vacation by Thomas King

Biography

Thomas King is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter and photographer. His critically acclaimed, bestselling fiction includes Medicine River; Green Grass, Running Water; One Good Story, That One; Truth and Bright Water; A Short History of Indians in Canada; The Back of the Turtle (winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction); The Inconvenient Indian (winner of the RBC Taylor Prize); the DreadfulWater mystery series, including most recently Obsidian; and the poetry collection 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin. A Member of the Order of Canada and the recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Thomas King lives in Guelph, Ontario.

Published by Random House Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

Consent by Annabel Lyon

Biography

Annabel Lyon is the author of the novel The Golden Mean, a bestseller in Canada that won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor-General’s Award, and has been translated into fourteen languages. She is also the author of a story collection, Oxygen; a book of novellas, The Best Thing for You; and two juvenile novels, All-Season Edie and Encore Edie. She teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

Published by Book*hug Press

Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo

Biography

Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland, grew up in Trinidad, and lives in Canada. She holds an MA in English from the University of Guelph, writes fiction and poetry, and is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited locally and internationally. Mootoo’s critically acclaimed novels include Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, Valmiki’s Daughter, He Drown She in the Sea, and Cereus Blooms at Night. She is a recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, a Chalmers Arts Fellowship, and the James Duggins Mid-Career Novelist Award from the Lambda Literary Awards. Her work has been long- and shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the International DUBLIN Literary Award, and the Booker Prize. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.

Twitter: @shanimootoo
Instagram: @shani_mootoo

Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Biography

EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL is the author of four novels, most recently Station Eleven, which was a finalist for a National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award; won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Toronto Book Award and the Morning News Tournament of Books; and has been translated into thirty-one languages. A previous novel, The Singer’s Gun, was the 2014 winner of the Prix Mystère de la Critique in France. Her short fiction and essays have been anthologized in numerous collections, including The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. She is a staff writer for The Millions. She lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

Instagram: @EmilyStJohnMandel
Twitter: @EmilyMandel

Published by Drawn & Quarterly

Seth by Clyde Fans

Biography

Seth is the cartoonist behind the comic book series Palookaville, which started in the stone age as a pamphlet and is now a semi-annual hardcover. His comics have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Best American Comics, and McSweeneys Quarterly. His illustrations have appeared in numerous publications including the cover of the New Yorker, the Walrus, and Canadian Notes & Queries. He is also Lemony Snicket’s partner for the new Young Readers series, All the Wrong Questions, and has illustrated and designed a new, deluxe edition of Stephen Leacock’s Sunshine Sketches of a little Town. He is the designer for several classic comics reprint series, notably collections of work by Charles Schulz, John Stanley, and Doug Wright.

The cartoonist has exhibited throughout the world in a variety of group and solo shows. He was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario, which showcased the first public display of his model city Dominion. He is now a part of the Gallery’s permanent collection. Dominion City subsequently toured Galleries in Eastern and Central Canada and will be travelling to select galleries in the west in 2014. He is the subject of an upcoming National Film Board documentary entitled Seth’s Dominion. Seth lives in Guelph, Ontario, with his wife Tania and their two cats in an old house he has named “Inkwell’s End.”

Published by McLelland & Stewart, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa

Biography

Souvankham Thammavongsa is the author of four poetry books: Light, winner of the Trillium Book Award for Poetry; Found; Small Arguments, winner of the ReLit Award; and, most recently, Cluster. Her fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Granta, The Atlantic, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading, The Journey Prize Stories, and The O. Henry Prize Stories. How to Pronounce Knife is her debut book of fiction, and the title story was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand, she was raised and educated in Toronto, where she is at work on her first novel.

Author Site: souvankham-thammavongsa.com
Social: facebook.com/souvankham

2020 Jury

Jury

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is pleased to announce the award-winning, five-member jury panel for the 2020 prize. They are Canadian authors David Chariandy, Eden Robinson and Mark Sakamoto (jury chair), British critic and Editor of the Culture segment of the Guardian, Claire Armitstead, and Canadian/British author and journalist, Tom Rachman.

Claire Armitstead

Biography

Claire Armitstead is Associate Editor, Culture, at the Guardian, where she has previously acted as arts editor, literary editor and head of books. She presents the weekly Guardian books podcast and is a regular commentator on radio, and at live events across the UK and internationally. She is a trustee of English PEN.

David Chariandy

Biography

David Chariandy is a writer and critic. His first novel, Soucouyant, was nominated for 11 literary prizes, including the Governor General’s Award and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His second novel, Brother, was nominated for fourteen prizes, winning the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and the Toronto Book Award. Brother was also widely translated and named a book of the year by The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Toronto Star, The Montreal Gazette, Quill and Quire, the CBC, the New York Public Library, Kirkus Reviews, Esquire Magazine, and The Guardian. David’s most recent book is a memoir entitled I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter. He lives in Vancouver and is an editor of Brick and a Professor of English at Simon Fraser University. In 2019, David was awarded Yale University’s Windham-Campbell Prize for fiction.

Tom Rachman

Biography

Tom Rachman is the author of four works of fiction, including the international bestseller The Imperfectionists (2010), which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, won the Canadian Authors Award for Fiction, and was named a New York Times book of the year. His most recent novel, The Italian Teacher (2018), was shortlisted for both the Costa Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Award. Rachman has written for The Globe & Mail, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Times Literary Supplement, and The New Yorker and The Atlantic online. Born in London, he was raised in Vancouver, attended the University of Toronto and Columbia University, and worked as a journalist for the Associated Press in Rome and the International Herald Tribune in Paris. He is based in London.

Eden Robinson

Biography

Eden Robinson is a Haisla/Heiltsuk author who grew up in Haisla, British Columbia. Her first book, Traplines, a collection of short stories, won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year in 1998. Monkey Beach, her first novel, was shortlisted for both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 2000 and won the BC Book Prize’s Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her novel Son of a Trickster was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her latest novel is its sequel, Trickster Drift, which won the 2019 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize.

Mark Sakamoto

Biography

Mark Sakamoto has enjoyed a rich and varied career. He began his professional career in live music, working with several international acts. He has worked at a national law firm, a national broadcaster and has served as a senior political advisor to a national party leader. He is an entrepreneur and investor in digital health and digital media. Mark is the Executive Vice-President for Think Research, an international big data health firm in Toronto. In that capacity, he is responsible for driving all aspects of business development. Sakamoto’s book, Forgiveness: A Gift from My Grandparents won CBC Canada Reads and has been a number one national best seller in two separate years. It is currently being developed for screen and theatre. Mark is the host and executive producer of Good People, a CBC television series which explores societal problems and scours the planet for hopeful places and solutions. He lives in Toronto with his wife and their two daughters.