Thursday, October 09, 2008

More Book Award Lists

The Giller Prize shortlist was released this week:

Cockroach - Rawi Hage
Through Black Spruce - Joseph Boyden
Barnacle Love - Anthony De Sa
Good to a Fault - Marina Endicott
The Boys In The Trees - Mary Swan

The Giller Prize celebrates English-language Canadian authors and has a $50,000 payday. The jury this year consists of Margaret Atwood, Bob Rae and author Colm Toibin. How Bob Rae finds time to judge a book contest is beyond me. Atwood says that this year's list put a "spotlight" on people "who might never have been there" - doesn't that seem a little like they shouldn't be there? Or is she saying that small publishers and new authors don't get the type of publicity that others do? (Perhaps that is why Miriam Toews wasn't nominated). A site I discovered today, Bookninja, has a different take: "The coverage around the Giller announcement... seems to be revolving around the “newness” of the names on the list. The Post even hints that the judges are more famous than the nominees. The Giller’s been criticized in the past for being an old boys and girls club, so I guess this is some antidote. I’m sure we’ll get around to asking why all the spots went to large presses." Coincidence? I think not. (Okay, now I admit to trying to stir the pot when there's no real controversy. I guess I am a little upset that Toews didn't get nominated. Then again, I haven't read that book, nor any other on the Giller shortlist. They could all very well be the best Canadian novels of this year.) The Giller winner will be named on November 11th.

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