Wednesday, October 03, 2012

One more short list - the GGs

Yesterday, the finalists for the Governor General's Literary Awards were announced. There are seven categories in both languages, so the entire list is quite long. I am only going to focus on the fiction short list, which is, to me, the most interesting. The GG Award is the third in the Canadian trifecta of literary awards, along with the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Prize for Fiction. Last year, both Esi Edugyan and Patrick deWitt were nominated for all three, with Edugyan winning the $50,000 Giller and deWitt winning the Writers' Trust and GG, at $25,000 each.

This year, there will be no possibility of a triple crown winner. No book has been nominated for all three awards, though several are in line to win two of the three. Here is the GG Fiction list:

Siege 13 by Tamas Dobozy

Dr. Brinkley's Tower by Robert Hough

The Headmaster's Wager by Vincent Lam

The Juliet Stories by Carrie Snyder

The Purchase by Linda Spalding

The biggest name on this list is Vincent Lam, who has already won the Giller for his 2006 collection of short stories, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. However, Dobozy and Spalding are also nominated for the Writers' Trust Prize, making them the front-runners, in my mind. Then again, none of these five titles are nominated for the Giller Prize, which indicates an incredible dearth of Canadian fiction in 2012.

Also intriguing is the absence of several big names - Linden MacIntyre, Alice Munro, M.G. Vassanji and Annabel Lyon, all previous winners of major awards, have been omitted.

Another notable finalist is Sheila Fischman for translating Kim Thuy's Ru from French to English. Ru won the GG Award for French fiction in 2010, and the English version is nominated for this year's Giller Prize.

The Governor General's Literary Awards will be announced on November 13th.

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