Yesterday’s revealing of the Giller Prize shortlist, today’s announcement of the Governor General’s Literary Awards finalists, both on the heels of last week’s release of the five finalists for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, means that the big three Canadian literary prizes are counting down the days until we find out who wrote the best in Canadian literature for 2014.
Each year, it seems a handful of the nominees for these prestigious CanLit prizes have come from the magazine world; this year, almost all of the shortlisted authors have National Magazine Awards on their resumes.
Former National Magazine Award winner Miriam Toews (Gold Medal, Humour, Saturday Night, 1999) made the shortlist for both the Giller Prize and the Writers’ Trust Prize for her novel All My Puny Sorrows, which some critics consider to be the favourite for one or both prizes.
Also on the shortlist for the Giller is two-time National Magazine Award winner Heather O’Neill (Gold Medal, Best Short Feature, Chatelaine, 2011; Gold Medal, Best Short Feature, ELLE Canada, 2010) for her novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night. Read our interview with Heather about her writing career.
Sean Michaels, twice a National Magazine Award winner (Gold Medal, One of a Kind, Brick, 2010; Silver Medal, Words & Pictures, The Walrus, 2012) is on the Giller shortlist for his novel Us Conductors. Read more about Sean’s work from our One of a Kind summer reading series.
David Bezmozgis, nominated for the Giller Prize for his novel The Betrayers, won a Silver Medal at the 2003 National Magazine Awards for his Fiction in Prairie Fire.
A fifth Giller shortlisted author, Frances Itani for her novel Tell, was nominated for a National Magazine Award for Fiction in 1995 (Saturday Night). The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, by Padma Vishwanathan, is the final novel on the Giller Prize shortlist. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Toronto on November 10. The winner receives $100,000; all other finalists receive $10,000.
GOVERNOR GENERAL’S LITERARY AWARDS
Four of the five finalists for the GG Fiction (English) award are former National Magazine Award winners and nominees:
- Juliet Was a Surprise, by Bill Gaston (Gold Medalist, Fiction, Event, 2011)
- The Back of the Turtle, by Thomas King (Silver Medalist, Fiction, Saturday Night, 1991)
- The Opening Sky, by Joan Thomas (Silver Medalist, Personal Journalism, Prairie Fire, 1995)
- Sweetland, by Michael Crummey (Honourable Mention, Poetry, The New Quarterly, 2012)
The fifth GG fiction finalist is Claire Holden Rothman for her novel My October.
In the GG Non-Fiction (English) category, all four finalists are former National Magazine Awards nominees:
- The Oilman and the Sea, by Arno Kopecky
- Up Ghost River, by Alexandra Shimo (co-authored with Edmond Metatawabin)
- Know the Night, by Maria Mutch
- The End of Absence, by Michael Harris
Finally, for the GG Award for Children’s Book Illustration, one of the finalists, Jillian Tamaki, is a three-time National Magazine Award winner for Illustration. Read our interview with Jillian about her career as an illustrator.
The Governor General’s Literary Awards honour excellence in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text), children’s literature (illustration), and translation. The winners will be announced online on November 18, 2014, with a public event to follow in Ottawa on November 26 (English-language winners) and November 27 (French-language winners).
WRITERS’ TRUST FICTION PRIZE
For the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, joining Miriam Toews are 3 former National Magazine Awards nominees: André Alexis (Fiction, Event, 2009) for his novel Pastoral; Steven Galloway (Humour, Vancouver Magazine, 2005) for his novel The Confabulist; and K.D. Miller (Fiction, The Capilano Review, 1997) for her novel All Saints. Rounding out the shortlist is Carrie Snyder for Girl Runner. The winner of the Writer’s Trust Prize receives $25,000; all finalists receive $2500. The winner will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards in Toronto on November 4.
Congratulations to all the finalists. A great CanLit awards season awaits, and we’ve got lots of reading to do!