The 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury announced its shortlist on Monday, September 26, 2016, derived from a longlist of 12 books. The jury read an amazing 161 books submitted by 69 publisher imprints from every region of the country. The longlist was selected by an esteemed five-member jury panel: Canadian writers Lawrence Hill (jury chair), Jeet Heer and Kathleen Winter, English author Samantha Harvey and Scottish novelist Alan Warner.
The shortlist includes:
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien
Madeleine Thien’s new novel is breathtaking in scope and ambition even as it is hauntingly intimate. With the ease and skill of a master storyteller, Thien takes us inside an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations–those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution in the mid-twentieth century; and the children of the survivors, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square in 1989, in one of the most important political moments of the past century. With exquisite writing sharpened by a surprising vein of wit and sly humour, Thien has crafted unforgettable characters who are by turns flinty and headstrong, dreamy and tender, foolish and wise.
P.S. This is also Blue Heron Book’s September book club pick!
The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux
Catherine Leroux’s The Party Wall shifts between and ties together stories about pairs joined in surprising ways. A woman learns that she may not be the biological mother of her own son despite having given birth to him; a brother and sister unite, as their mother dies, to search for their long-lost father; two young sisters take a detour home, unaware of the tragedy that awaits; and a political couple—when the husband accedes to power in a post-apocalyptic future state—is shaken by the revelation of their own shared, if equally unknown, history.
Psst…Watch and listen for more information on a Blue Heron Book event with Catherine in the new year!
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
In her brilliant, hilarious, and at times shocking debut, Mona Awad simultaneously skewers the body image-obsessed culture that tells women they have no value outside their physical appearance, and delivers a tender and moving depiction of a lovably difficult young woman whose life is hijacked by her struggle to conform. As caustically funny as it is heartbreaking,13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl introduces a vital new voice in fiction.
Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin
This outstanding New Face of Fiction is filled with Jewish takes on classic pirate tales–fights, prison escapes, and exploits on the high seas–but it’s also a tender love story, between Moishe and Sarah, and between Aaron and his “shoulder,” Moishe. Rich with puns, colourful language, post-colonial satire and Kabbalistic hijinks, Yiddish for Pirates is also a compelling examination of mortality, memory, identity and persecution from one of this country’s most talented writers.
P.S. You may recognize the name from our Books and Brunch event with Gary last spring. If you haven’t picked up Yiddish for Pirates yet, it is now in paperback!
The Best Kind of People by Zoe Wittall
George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. His wife, Joan, vaults between denial and rage as the community she loved turns on her. Their daughter, Sadie, a popular over-achieving high school senior, becomes a social pariah. Their son, Andrew, assists in his father’s defense, while wrestling with his own unhappy memories of his teen years. A local author tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist attempts to get Sadie onside their cause. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth, and the meaning of happiness through the lens of an all-American family on the brink of collapse.
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
A magnetic novel written with all the spare and propulsive tension that made ROOM a huge bestseller, THE WONDER works beautifully on many levels—as a simple tale of two strangers who will transform each other’s lives, a powerful psychological thriller, and a story of love pitted against evil in its many masks.
Psst…Emma Donoghue is coming to Wooden Sticks on October 30th. Don’t forget to purchase your tickets and meet the Giller nominee.