Tuesday, October 02, 2012

2012 Scotiabank Giller Shortlist

On October 1st, the shortlist for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced. The nominated books are:

419 by Will Ferguson

Inside by Alix Ohlin

The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler

Ru by Kim Thuy

Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky

After the curious longlist announced in September, the shortlist seems to satisfy book critics. Only two of the books have been nominated for other big prizes in Canada: Inside by Alix Ohlin was shortlisted for the Rogers Writer’s Trust Prize for Fiction. Earlier this month, Ohlin was subject to a particularly dismissive review at the New York Times, but her nominations for two of Canada's three major literary awards proves that Canadian critics think otherwise. Julie Wilson at 49th Shelf interviews Ohlin about Inside and the infamous New York Times review.
As well, Kim Thuy’s Ru has been nominated for the Governor’s General award for Translation (by Sheila Fischman). Ru won the Governor General's Award for Fiction in French in 2010. Will Ferguson is an interesting choice here, since he is predominantly a humour writer. However, Anna Porter, one of the jurists, explains that “[i]t is tempting to put 419 in some easy genre category, but that would only serve to deny its accomplishment and genius.” The other two titles are relative newcomers to the awards circuit; Whirl Away is a short story collection and The Imposter Bride is a historical novel set in post-war Montreal.

Ferguson has already been deemed the “front-runner” for the prize, according to the Globe & Mail. However, my pick for the prize is the delightful Kim Thuy, whose book is a entrancing collection of vignettes documenting an escape from Vietnam in the 70s. I also have a personal reason for championing this book, as I got a chance to meet her earlier this year. She appeared at a bookstore event and captivated the audience as she spoke of her experience as a refugee in Burma, her first years in Montreal, her search for a profession, and her writing experience. It was great!

The winner will be announced on October 30th.

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