Archive for ‘Awards & Prizes’

December 15, 2010

Man Asian Literary Prize Longlist Announced

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The 2010 Man Asian Literary Prize longlist was announced on Tuesday. The longlist nominees are:

- Three Sisters by Bi Feiyu
Way to Go by Upamanyu Chatterjee
Dahanu Road by Anosh Irani
Serious Men by Manu Joseph
The Thing About Thugs by Tabish Khair
Tiger Hills by Sarita Mandanna
The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa
Monkey-man by Usha K.R.
Below the Crying Mountain by Criselda Yabes

The list includes 1994 Nobel Laureate Kenzaburo Oe and represents fiction writers from countries as disparate as India, China, the Philippines and Japan. This year’s judges are Monica Ali, Homi K. Bhabha and Hsu-Ming Teo. Finalists will be announced in February and the winner will be named in March at a ceremony in Hong Kong.

The Man Asian Literary Prize was founded in 2007. Awarded annually to an Asian writer, the Man Asian Literary Prize is given for the best novel either written in or translated into English.

November 18, 2010

Small Book Wins Big Prize: Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists Snags the Giller

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

Johanna Skibsrud’s The Sentimentalists winning the Giller Prize, Canada’s highest literary achievement, does more for CanLit than for Skibsrud. That’s taken lightly though, because the young, thirty-year-old author of a highly esteemed novel will feel the Giller effect of worldly recognition and mass sales in the ball park of 75,000 copies. But even that sounds miniscule compared to the real story behind The Sentimentalists. When this novel was first published in 2009 by Kentville, Nova Scotia micro-press Gaspereau Books, it was in a wiry run of 800 copies.

That’s what makes this year’s Giller so unique in the world of CanLit, and so groundbreaking. The Sentamentalists is the smallest book ever to win the prize, which pays a pleasant $50,000, and beat out two big commercial novels, David Bergen’s The Matter With Morris and Kathleen Winter’s Annabel. Winter’s novel was also nominated for the Writer’s Trust and Governor General’s awards. Last year’s Giller winner was long time CBC newscaster Lynden MacIntyre for his widely successful novel The Bishop’s Man. In its fifteen year existence, past Giller winners include Alice Munro, Joseph Boyden and Margaret Atwood. No one saw the major literary award centering in on something as obscure as Skibsrud‘s novel, an account of her father’s life as a soldier in the Vietnam War.

At the same time, The Sentamentalists contended with other underdogs, including Sarah Salecky’s This Cake Is For The Party and Alexander MacLeod’s Light Lifting, two considerably smaller books, thought their quantities were at least in the thousands when recommended by the jury.

Once the 2010 Giller longlist was announced, Gaspereau owner Andrew Steeves turned down commercial offers to mass produce copies of The Sentamentalists. “If you are going to buy a copy of that book in Canada, it’s damn well coming out of my shop,” Steeves proclaimed in an interview with the Globe and Mail. He’s since changed his tune, telling the press on Monday that Vancouver publishers Douglas & McIntyre will be producing 30,000 paperback copies by the end of the week, with an additional 20,000 lined up when demand bubbles again.

Also currently hitting the news is a dash of Giller controversy. Ali Smith, British author and one of the three Giller jurors this year, reportedly tipped off a publishing friend during the middle of deliberations about her love of Skibsrud’s novel. The National Post reported that Smith’s friend, Tracy Bohan of The Wiley Agency, may have taken the advice a little too seriously, because she sold foreign printing rights of the book to a UK Random House imprint with a release date set for next March. Giller president Jack Rabinovitch acknowledges the information sharing was out of line, but was done innocently.

Meanwhile, Steeves at Gaspereau in Kentville, Nova Scotia is trying to keep his head above water while pumping out 1,000 hand-printed and hand-bound copies a week, with enough on backorder to keep them in business until e-books really do take over the world. Oddly enough, The Sentamentalists is available online as an e-Book from Kobo. Since the announcement of Skibsrud’s win last week, Amazon.ca has her novel topping the bestseller list ahead of Keith Richard’s Life and George W. Bush’s Decision Points. Beating out famous names like that is no little feat.

October 25, 2010

CanLit Award Predictions

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

CanLit awards season is heading into its last few weeks (our big three prizes will all be handed out by mid-November). Thus, it’s time for predictions, and, if you are a real lit-junkie, some serious bets. First, a few quiet observations.

What everyone is perhaps not so quietly talking about is Kathleen Winter’s triple nominations for the Giller Prize, Governor General’s Award and Writers’ Trust prize for her novel Annabel. It is Winter’s debut novel after her 2008 Winterset Award winning short story collection boYs.

Feeling two-thirds the heat as Kathleen Winter is Emma Donoghue, up for the Writers’ Trust and GG for her novel Room. The novel was also short-listed for the Man Booker earlier this fall.

There are lesser hopefuls that may surprise Canada with a big win after all. David Bergen’s new novel The Matter With Morris has had its share of recognition this season. It is up for the Giller and may just take the cake out of Winter’s mouth.

That said, it would be doggishly ironic if Sarah Selecky’s This Cake Is For The Party won the Giller. This is her debut work and has created considerable buzz in critic’s circles. Perhaps if the GG and Writer’s Trust accepted story collections, it would also approach taking those awards.

On to my predictions: be warned, the following is purely unfounded speculation.

On November 2, Michael Winter’s The Death Of Donna Whalen will win the Writers’ Trust award for fiction. In non-fiction, Sarah Leavitt will win for her graphic memoir Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me.

A week later on November 9, Emma Donoghue will win the Giller Prize for Room.

And in mid-November the Governor General’s Award for fiction will be presented to Kathleen Winter for Annabel. In non-fiction, Allan Casey will win for Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada.

October 16, 2010

Edna Staebler Award Winner

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

This week, Kitchener, Ontario author John Leigh Walters was awarded the 2010 Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction for his first book A Very Capable Life: The Autobiography of Zarah Petri.

Walters’ A Very Capable Life is the story of his mother, Zarah Petri, and her life as an immigrant during the twentieth century. Walters is being heralded for mastering the first-person autobiography of another person. He writes Petri’s stories in her voice, from her point of view, and creatively reinterprets landmark twentieth century events through her perception.

Now retired, Walters hosted and produced television shows in Canada and the United States for most of his life. Most recently, he hosted a program on CTV in Waterloo.

The Edna Staebler Award, established by Staebler in 1991, annually acknowledges the best first or second non-fiction work of an author that significantly portrays Canadian culture or takes place in a Canadian locale. The winner receives $10,000 from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Wilfrid Laurier University recently published a collection of Staebler’s diary entries entitled Must Write.

Edna Staebler was one of Canada’s most well-known writers, regarded widely for her Mennonite cookbook series Food That Really Shmecks. She also wrote for popular Canadian magazines Maclean’s, Chatelaine, Reader’s Digest and Star Weekly. In 1996 she was awarded the Order of Canada.

October 15, 2010

Video of the Week: Emma Donoghue

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In the video below, Emma Donoghue reacts to a creative book display at the Next Chapter Bookshop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and discusses her book Room with an audience gathered for a reading.

Room was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize.

October 12, 2010

From Shortlist to Winner, the Man Booker Committee Pulls an Upset

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Howard Jacobson‘s novel The Finkler Question was announced the winner of the 2010 Man Booker Prize in a London ceremony earlier today, dispensing with Tom McCarthy’s C, which was considered the front-runner for winning the prize and even caused the British bookmaker Ladbrokes to close betting on wagers for the prize after they received nearly $24,000 USD in a single day.

Jacobson’s previous novels include Who’s Sorry Now and Kolooki Nights, both of which we shortlisted for the prize in 2002 and 2006, respectively. The prize comes with a $79,000 USD monetary award and an almost guaranteed bestseller status in the United Kingdom. Assuring the winner’s book will fly off the shelves in North America is another matter, one that last year’s winner, Hilary Mantel for her novel Wolf Hall, surprised with its commercial success abroad. Wolf Hall went on to win the National Book Critics Circle Award in the U.S.

October 11, 2010

What Does Karkwa’s Polaris Prize Win Mean for the Canadian Underground Music Scene?

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

Polaris Prize season is always exciting for Canadian music journalists. The hype around the heftily weighted $20,000 purse acknowledging the best independent album of the year takes on a feverish holiday feel. This year, after a summer of waiting since the longlist was announced on June 17, and the shortlist on July 7, music nerds were getting antsy. For months, record biz insiders, journalists and music fans were making their predictions known all over social networks. Leading up to the special day, September 20, people were wishing each other a “Happy Polaris Prize Day” on Twitter and Facebook.

Now it’s all said and done and, I am pleased to announce, the winner of the 2010 Polaris Prize is Montreal indie rock group Karkwa for their record Les Chemins De Verre. The band has been around since 2003 and have released four albums on Audiogram Records.

Much like the hype preceding Polaris day, after the winner is announced there is always strong reaction from media and music listeners alike. Last fall I was happier than a punk with a bottle of malt liquor when I heard one of my favourite bands, Fucked Up, won for their record The Chemistry Of Common Life. But after the Toronto hardcore-turned-experimental troupe took home the oversized cheque, reaction ensued, and critics unleashed. People couldn’t believe that a curse-named punk band could beat out more radio friendly underground music. “For heaven’s sake,” mainstream snobbies protested, “Metric was up for the award – and Fucked Up won?!”

This year, it’s much of the same jealousy fired at Karkwa. I guess it is tradition for people to lash out, usually in defence of the bands that don’t need twenty grand. Mostly I’ve seen people angry about popular bands like Tegan and Sarah and Broken Social Scene being sidelined by the judges in lieu of an underdog. I confess, I haven’t heard Les Chemins De Verre entirely, yet, but from what I’ve Youtubed I like. I applaud Karkwa for proving Edge102 radio and MuchMusic aren’t the be all, end all to what’s hip in Canada.

However, I wonder why some well-known underground bands were left out this year. Although one of my favourites, The Sadies, made the shortlist (much to my surprise), I think some other Canadian albums should at least have been considered, like Bison BC’s Dark Ages, which I heard back in March and immediately declared the best Canadian album of 2010. I also would have nominated Fuck The Facts Unnamed EP, which to your next door neighbour sounds like the heaviest metal of all time but is really one of the smartest, genius punk/grind records ever.

I’ve kept quiet on my thoughts because, frankly, I know it will be a while before a heavier bands take the Polaris. For some reason hardcore and metal are too out of reach for vogue listeners. This is why it still amazes me that Fucked Up won last year. If the judges heard any of their music prior to Chemistry, I’m sure they would have barfed in disgust and declined them any right to acknowledgment in the arts scene.

October 7, 2010

Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Laureate in Literature, Breaks Eurocentric Streak

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Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature today, ending what some have decried as the prize’s long Eurocentric streak. Vargas Llosa, a Peruvian native, is probably best known for his novels published in the 1960’s and ’70’s, including The Time of the Hero, The Green House and Conversation in the Cathedral, all of which are deeply political works that examine the pervasive corruption in Latin America.

Vargas Llosa is the first South American writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature since Gabriel Garcia Marquez was awarded the prize in 1982; Mexican novelist Octavio Paz, the most recent Latin American to win, was awarded the prize in 1990.

Vargas Llosa has been criticized for a shift in his politics. Initially a supporter of the Cuban revolution, he took a political step away from Fidel Castro in the 1970’s and ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 as a right-center conservative. Despite the political nature of his work and its examination of corruption in Latin American, his alignment with policies and economics of the right have left hard feelings among some writers and politicians in Latin America. According to the Wall Street Journal, Vargas Llosa punched former friend and ally Gabriel Garcia Marquez at a movie premier in Mexico City in 1976. The two writers have not discussed the feud publicly.

Vargas Llosa currently teaches Latin American studies at Princeton University. Last year’s Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to German-Romanian writer Herta Muller.

October 5, 2010

Giller Shortlist Announced

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

The Shortlist for the 2010 Giller Prize was announced Tuesday, October 5. Selected from the longlist of thirteen publications announced September 20, the five shortlisted candidates are:

- David Bergen, for the novel The Matter With Morris

- Kathleen Winter, for the novel Annabel

- Johanna Skibsrud, for the novel The Sentimenatlists

- Alexander MacLeod, for the short story collection Light Lifting

- Sarah Selecky, for the short story collection This Cake Is For The Party

Think you know which one of these authors will win? If so, enter the Guess The Giller contest for a chance to win VIP passes to the 2011 Giller Gala.

Stay tuned November 9 for the 2010 Giller Prize winner announcement.

October 4, 2010

Giller Prize Longlist; Shortlist Announcement Tomorrow

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

The longlist for the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize, the leading literary award for Canadian authors, was announced Monday, September 20. This year’s judges – Canadian journalist and broadcaster Michael Enright, American author and professor Claire Messud, and renowned UK author Ali Smith – decided on thirteen titles from ninety-eight submissions from a wide variety of Canadian publishers.

This year’s selections are diverse and somewhat surprising compared to previous years, with a balanced list of big and small presses, male and female authors, and novels and short story collections.

The 2010 Giller Prize for Fiction longlist is:

- The Matter With Morris by David Bergen (Phyllis Bruce Books/HarperCollins)

- Player One by Douglas Coupland (House of Anansi Press)

- Cities Of Refuge by Michael Helm (McClelland & Stewart)

- Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod (Biblioasis)

- The Debba by Avner Mandelman (Other Press/Random House)

- The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman (Dial/Random House)

- This Cake Is For The Party by Sarah Selecky (Thomas Allen Publishers)

- The Sentimentalists by Johanna Scabbard (Gaspereau Press)

- Lemon by Cordelia Strube (Coach House Books)

- Curiosity by Joan Thomas (McClelland & Stewart)

- Sanctuary Line by Jane Urquhart (McClelland & Stewart)

- Cool Water by Dianne Warren (Phyllis Bruce Books/HarperCollins)

- Annabel by Kathleen Winter (House of Anansi Press)

The shortlist will be announced at a Toronto news conference tomorrow October 5 and the 2010 Giller Prize winner will be announced November 9.

While I have you here, I’d like to mention that the five nominees for the City of Toronto Book Award were announced recently. They are:

- Prince of Neither Here Nor There by Sean Cullen (Penguin)
Valentine’s Fall by Cary Fagan (Cormorant)
Where We Have To Go by Lauren Kirshner (McClelland)
The Carnivore Mark Sinnett (ECW)
Diary of Interrupted Days by Dragan Topologic (Random House Canada)

The Toronto book award has been running annually since 1974. This year’s finalists will read selections from their works at the Word On The Street book and magazine festival in Toronto on September 26. The winner will be announced October 14.

September 30, 2010

THIS Reads: Should Reading Cause Stress?

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BY LACEY N. DUNHAM

I’m not going to lie. I’ve been really, really stressed about reading during the past month and half. As fall and winter book releases have piled up on my living room table, the stack now looks a bit like the leaning tower of Pisa, lumbering over the number of calendar days in which I have to read them. It’s not unusual, I think, for lovers of books to be overwhelmed with more books than time. For me, the added pressure of that awful word – deadline – zaps a bit of the pleasure out of reading, which is too bad, because I love reading. However, I shrug all responsibility for the tilted ratio of books-to-sanity from my shoulders. If publishers wouldn’t pile on all their top titles in the fall, maybe I wouldn’t be freaking out right now.

So what’s on my table?

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
This is probably the only book I’ve picked up for pure pleasure in the last month and it’s one hell of a ride. Mitchell’s talent as a writer far exceeds that of almost any other living writer. In Cloud Atlas, his chameleon skin at adapting to a plethora of voices, styles, and genres is revealed in the shimmer of this postmodern novel. Plus, James Woods has a small crush on Mitchell and if James Woods is in love, then you know Mitchell’s the real deal.

Deadline: 30 days, because the Library of Congress says so. And, unlike their poorly funded public counterpart, the Library of Congress does not fuck around.

 

 


Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women
by Rebecca Traister
Even though I live in DC, I’m not a policy wonk. Thankfully, Traister’s look at the women of the 2008 election is a pleasing mix of the political and the personal, which means I loved this book way more than I loved living through the pain of waking at 3am to take the Metro to the National Mall, wade through the muck of DC planning ineptitude, stand in the cold for 7 hours to wait for Obama’s inauguration, and then walking 6 miles home because the tourists couldn’t figure out how to cram–really cram–themselves into the Metro train cars. Which is to say, for anyone who has an interest in feminist politics, women in politics, or presidential politics, Traister’s book is one of the best to emerge from the post-election political publishing binge.

Deadline: Done and done, thanks to Traister’s superb reading at Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse last Monday.

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
The movie opened to a limited release last Friday and will be in wide release soon. I thought I should read the book before the film poisons my mind. Unfortunately, I haven’t even cracked it open since I hunted it from my bookshelves six weeks ago and I saw the movie this past weekend.

Deadline: Ideally, I would have read this before seeing the film. Now, I’ll probably read the book the next time I’m laid up with the flu, which, in DC, usually hits around February.

 

Sunset Park by Paul Auster
An ARC of Auster’s forthcoming novel (due in November) dropped into my hands. A very nice review editor at a very nice online literary and cultural magazine asked if I would read and review. This was in July. He said, “Have the review to me September-ish.” Bad idea. I work on firm deadlines. September-ish means, to me, anytime prior to 11:59pm on September 30th. So have I read this yet? No. In fairness, up until that point I hadn’t read any Auster (gasp! but I’m not a New Yorker, so calm down) so I had to quickly plow through the main points of his backlist before reaching for his latest. The New York Trilogy blew my mind as a postmodern novel that questioned the very claim of the author and the veracity of fiction – until I read Cloud Atlas. Then The New York Trilogy became the ugly sister: still related but a lot less likely to become high school class president or prom queen.

Deadline: September-ish. But I give myself bonus points for having started it this weekend.

 


Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy
A writer friend of mine recently admonished me for never having read McCarthy’s The Road. I told him every woman I knew who had read the book hated it, while every guy I knew loved it. As a biological female, I just assumed it wasn’t worth my time. My friend argued that McCarthy is one of the best living American writers and promised to bring me a novel I would love: Blood Meridian. I asked for a deadline (I can’t help it); he said August 31 and I agreed. In mid-August, I asked for an extension. He said, “end of September, I guess?” the slight questioning tone of the sentence placing it firmly after “September-ish” and sometime before the Apocalypse. Therefore, Friend is never getting his book back, at least not anytime soon.

Deadline: I’ll take him out for beers and see who remembers anything about deadlines then.

 

Room by Emma Donoghue, C by Tom McCarthy, and The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass

I borrowed both the Man Booker Nominated Room and C from friends because, okay, I admit: I’m not immune to the influence of judges on prize committees. I would have never read Wolf Hall if it hadn’t won the Booker last year. So wow me over judges!

I have my own copy of The Widower’s Tale because I love Julia Glass. Her novel is not nominated for any awards (yet) but Three Junes did win the National Book Award. I’m always impressed by Glass’s ability to write from multiple perspectives in her family dramas without condescending to the reader or her characters.

Deadline: Waiting for flu season (Glass) and the announcement of the Man Booker Prize winner (Donoghue and McCarthy).

September 7, 2010

The Man Booker Shortlist Surprise

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The shortlist for the 2010 Man Booker Prize was announced today with a few surprises.

The six name list was cut from the original “Booker dozen” of thirteen novels. The popular and well-selling title The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas failed to make the cut, as did previous shortlist nominee David Mitchell, whose novel The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet was thought to be a strong contender.

The 2010 Man Booker shortlist is:
–Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America

–Emma Donoghue,
Room

–Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room

–Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question

–Andrea Levy, The Long Song

–Tom McCarthy, C

McCarthy’s novel C, set in early 1900s England that melds science and the subconscious, is a critical favorite and may be a strong contender for the winner.

The winner of the 50,000 pound ($76,790) prize, which can catapult an unknown author to worldwide success, will be announced on October 12.

August 31, 2010

Faber Academy Hits Toronto

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

The world renowned Faber Academy has announced that its first North American campus will open this fall in Toronto.

Miriam Toews

The inaugural course, commencing September 29, is ‘Writing A Novel’ and will be led by Miriam Toews. She is the author of four novels: Summer of My Amazing Luck; A Boy of Good Breeding; the 2004 Governor General’s Award winning, 2006 Canada Reads winning novel A Complicated Kindness; and 2010 novel The Flying Troutmans. Also lined up for guest lectures are big CanLit names such as Margaret Atwood, Michael Redhill and Anne Michaels.

Ken Babstock

Beginning October 1 at the Toronto campus is the ‘Becoming a Poet’ course led by Ken Babstock and Karen Solie. Babstock is an acclaimed Toronto writer and poet. His first collection Mean won the Atlantic Poetry Prize and the Milton Acorn People’s Poet Award; his latest work Airstream Land Yacht won the 2006 Trillium Book Award for Poetry in English; and he is the winner of a K.M. Hunter Award. Currently Babstock is the poetry editor for House of Anansi Press.


Karen Solie
‘s latest book, Pigeon, won the 2010 Trillium for English Language Poetry. She has released two other poetry collections: Short Haul Engine, which won the BC Book Prize Dorothy Livesay Award, and Modern and Normal, which made the 2005 Globe and Mail Best Books List. Her writing has also been included in various literary journals including Geist and Other Voices.

If you’re quick, you can make the September 1 deadline for applications, which applies to both programs. However, the Faber & Faber site stresses that “the course will be selective.” The Faber Academy is widely respected and most of its graduates go on to lead successful careers as professional writers. What more do you expect from the publishing firm where T.S. Eliot got his start?

August 28, 2010

Reminder: Submission Deadlines

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Don’t forget! The submission deadline for the September/October issue of this is September 1!

Here’s a sample of what you can expect in our September/October issue:
~Great fiction by Cameron L. Mitchell and Kristopher McGonegal
~Artwork by Italy-based artist Pepper Pepper
~A look at the artist Chihuly by contributing writer Ursula K. Raphael
~Our inaugural Poet Spotlight, featuring Hong Kong-based poet Nicholas Y.B. Wong
~and more!

Interested in being feature with our next Poet Spotlight? The Poet Spotlight deadline is November 15 with a publication date of March/April 2011.

August 20, 2010

Booker Prize Canadian Nominees

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

The longlist for the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction was announced July 27, narrowing down an initial 138 nominations to thirteen runners. Being this‘s CanLit correspondent, I am pleased to report that two Canadian authors have made it through to this year’s Booker Baker’s Dozen. The Northern hopefuls are Emma Donoghue for her novel Room, and Lisa Moore for February.

Emma Donoghue is an Irish-born writer who settled in London, Ontario in 1998. Writing professionally since the age of twenty-three, Donoghue writes fiction, drama, young adult, historical and literary fiction, and short stories. Hitting the literary scene in the early nineties, her first novels focused on contemporary life in Dublin. Most recently she has published a historical fiction trilogy made up of Slammerkin (2000), Life Mask (2004), and The Sealed Letter (2008), which investigate the British class system from the fourteenth century until the eighteenth century. Room (September 2010) is the tale of young boy Jack and mother, Ma, who reside in a room. Jack has never seen the outside world, until he escapes amidst dire circumstances. Donoghue has won several literary awards, including the 2009 Lambda Award for best Lesbian Fiction for The Sealed Letter (also longlisted for the 2008 Giller Prize), and the 2002 Ferro-Grumley Award for Lesbian Fiction for Slammerkin.

Emma Donoghue

Lisa Moore


Lisa Moore is a St. John’s native and studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She has released two short story collections, Degrees of Nakedness (1995) and Open (2002) which was nominated for the Giller Prize. Her first novel Alligator (2005) won the 2006 Commonwealth Writer’s Prize Best Book Award for the Caribbean and Canada region. Her 2010 Booker longlisted novel February tells the story of one Helen O’Mara who is haunted by the loss of her husband Cal who died in an oil rig accident in 1982.

Food for thought, the entire 2010 Booker longlist is as follows:

–Peter Carey for Parrot and Olivier in America (Faber and Faber)
–Emma Donoghue for Room (Pan MacMillan – Picador)
–Helen Dunmore for The Betrayal (Penguin – Fig Tree)
–Damon Galgut for In a Strange Room (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Books)
–Howard Jacobson for The Finkler Question (Bloomsbury)
–Andrea Levy for The Long Song (Headline Publishing Group – Headline Review)
–Tom McCarthy for C (Random House – Jonathan Cape)
–David Mitchell for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (Hodder & Stoughton – Sceptre)
–Lisa Moore for February (Random House – Chatto & Windus)
–Paul Murray for Skippy Dies (Penguin – Hamish Hamilton)
–Rose Tremain for Trespass (Random House – Chatto & Windus)
–Christos Tsiolkas for The Slap (Grove Atlantic – Tuskar Rock)
–Alan Warner The Stars in the Bright Sky (Random House – Jonathan Cape)

The 2010 shortlist of six authors will be announced September 7, 2010 and the 2010 Man Booker Prize for Fiction winner will be announced October 12, 2010.

August 7, 2010

Head’s Up: CBC Literary Award Submissions

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

Submissions for the 2010 CBC Literary Awards are now being accepted until November 1. Go here to enter and get all the information on how to format your submission. A twenty-five dollar (CAD) fee applies for each entry, and you can enter as many works as you want. The CBC Literary Awards competition is the only literary competition that celebrates original, unpublished works, in Canada’s two official languages.

There are three categories, one of which your submission must fall under: Short Story for short fiction narratives 2,000 to 2,500 words; Creative Nonfiction between 2,000 and 2,500 words, including humour, memoir, and research articles written for general audiences; and Poetry for long narrative poems or groups of poems totalling between 1,000 and 2,000 words. You must be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada to enter. All works must be unpublished and original.

Between November and January a shortlist of about twenty or thirty submissions will be decided on by a judging panel of top Canadian literary editors and writers. The winners will be announced in March 2011. There are twelve prizes awarded: For both English and French language works, first place in each category wins $6,000 and second place wins $4,000. Winning pieces will be published in Air Canada’s enRoute magazine, and will also be spotlighted on the CBC website.

There are many different ways to stay informed and get involved with the awards. Join over 1,300 followers by “liking” the Facebook Group and receive ongoing updates about the competition. Get writing tips from 2009 Short Story Juror Michael Helm, who propagates the importance of original writing. Read the 2009 winning entries and gain some indie author inspiration. Most of all, get writing! Only three months left!

August 5, 2010

THIS announces the Poet Spotlight

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We are thrilled to announce the Poet Spotlight, a new poetry initiative through our magazine.

What is the Poet Spotlight?
The Poet Spotlight is an opportunity for poets to have their work published in exclusivity in an issue of the ‘zine, (which is different from our blog) along with an artist’s statement and/or an interview to accompany the selected works. Our first Poet Spotlight will debut in the September/October 2010 issue and will feature the Hong Kong-based poet Nicholas Y.B. Wong.

Who is eligible?
Poets are eligible for consideration if they have not published more than one book of poetry (including chapbooks and self-published collections). We especially encourage unpublished poets to submit.

Who selects the poet for the Poet Spotlight?
A three-person review committee gives careful attention and reading to each submission and will comment on the work of the finalists.

What is the deadline?
Deadline: November 15, 2010
Decision: December 31, 2010
Publication: March/April 2011 issue of this

What are the submission guidelines?
All submission guidelines can be found here.
Please closely read all submission guidelines, eligibility requirements, and poem publication guidelines before submitting.

July 31, 2010

Papa Can You Hear Me?

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Whatever you think of Ernest Hemingway, the idea of a Hemingway Look-Alike Society is still pretty damn funny.

July 27, 2010

Man Booker Longlist Announced

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The “Man Booker Dozen,” 13 books longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, were announced today. The longlist includes:

–Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America

–Emma Donoghue, Room

–Helen Dunmore, The Betrayal

–Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room

–Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question

–Andrea Levy, The Long Song

–Tom McCarthy, C

–David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

–Lisa Moore, February

–Paul Murray, Skippy Dies

–Rose Tremain, Trespass

–Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap

–Alan Warner, The Stars in the Bright Sky

The 2010 shortlist will be announced Tuesday, September 7, so read these books while they’re hot!

July 27, 2010

CanLit: Trillium Book Award

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BY JOHN COLEMAN

Ian Brown

The 2010 Trillium Book Award winners are Ian Brown’s The Boy In The Moon for best English language book, Ryad Assani-Razaki’s Deux Cercles for best French language book, Karen Solie’s Pigeon for best English language book of poetry, and Michèle Matteau’s Paraselles for best French language book of poetry.

CanLit heavyweights Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro were beat out by Brown in the most anticipated Trillium category, best English language book. Perhaps not to much surprise, The Boy In The Moon: A Father’s Search For His Disabled Son (Random House) already won the B.C. National Award, Canada’s highest paying non-fiction prize at $40,000, in January and the 2010 Charles Taylor Prize. The Boy In The Moon is a compilation of articles Brown wrote for the Globe and Mail on living with his eleven year old son Walker, who has Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder.

Ryad Assani-Razaki

Karen Solie

The French language prize for best book was also in hot contention with writers like Nicole Champeau and Daniel Soha in the running. Ultimately, the judges fancied Ryad Assani-Razaki’s debut work, Deux Cercles (VLB Éditeur), published in April 2009. The book is a compilation of short stories about dealing with the difficulties of immigration in everyday life.

Karen Solie’s English language poetry winner Pigeon (Anansi) is becoming her catalyst for success in 2010. Pigeon is Solie’s third poetry compilation and, among the Trillium, has also won the Griffin Poetry Prize and Pat Lowther Award this year. Her two earlier works, Short Haul Engine (2001) and Modern and Normal (2005) earned many award nominations (Engine won the 2002 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize). But this year, Pigeon is topping best-seller lists while rooting Solie in the CanLit scene.

French language poetry winner, Passerelles (Les Éditions L’Interligne), just means more success for acclaimed Francophone writer Michèle Matteau. Poet, playwright, novelist, Matteau has published nine French language books. She won the 2001 Trillium Award for her novel Cognac et Porto, and the 2005 Prix Christine Dimitriu-Van-Saanen Award for her novel Un Doigt de Brandy dans un Verre de Lait Chaud (A Finger of Brandy in a Glass of Warm Milk).

Michele Matteau

The Trillium Literary Award is the highest award for authors in Ontario. Funded by the Ontario Media Development Corporation, the Trillium Award for best English and French language book was established in 1987. Categories for best English and French language books of poetry were added in 2003. Popular previous winning authors include Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Thomas King, and Alistair MacLeod. Best book winners receive $20,000, best book of poetry winners receive $10,000.

July 14, 2010

Awards: Neil Gaiman and Olufemi Terry

by thiszine

Neil Gaiman won the Carnegie medal for The Graveyard Book, about a boy named Nobody Owens who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard, an idea that initially came to him 25 years ago. Gaiman says, “It’s particularly fantastic for me because it was the first literary prize I was ever aware of as a kid…it’s like writing a letter to yourself aged seven.”

The Carnegie medal is awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children.

Olufemi Terry won the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing, Africa’s leading literary award, for the short story “Stickfighting Days,” published in Chimurenga, volume 12/13.

Terry was born in Sierra Leone of African and Antillean parentage. He grew up in Nigeria, the U.K, and Cote d’Ivoire and pursued a university in New York. Since then Terry has lived in Kenya and worked as a journalist and analyst in Somalia and Uganda. He currently lives in Cape Town where he is writing his first novel.

The Economist’s literary editor, Fiammetta Rocco, called the story “ambitious, brave and hugely imaginative… The execution of this story is so tight and the presentation so cinematic, it confirms Olufemi Terry as a talent with an enormous future.”

June 28, 2010

From The New York Times: Top Talent Under Age 10

by thiszine

Read this clever op-ed response to The New Yorker’s 20 under 40 list.

June 26, 2010

Mississippi Review Prize

by thiszine

Yet another fabulous contest! The Mississippi Review’s annual contest awards prizes of $1,000 in fiction and in poetry. Deadline is October 1, 2010 and the all the necessary details can be found here.

June 20, 2010

Black Lawrence Press Book Award Contest

by thiszine

The Black Lawrence Press is currently accepting submissions for their 2010 St. Lawrence Book Award. The award is given annually for an unpublished collection of short stories or poems and is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection. The winner receives book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. The entry fee is $25 with a deadline of August 31, 2010.

The ever-awesome New Pages blog notes an entry fee discount of up to $16 if you submit before June 30. Read about how to take advantage of the early bird discount here.

June 14, 2010

Kingsolver Wins Orange Prize and The New Yorker Shakes Up the Young Literati

by thiszine

Awards! Awards! Awards! It sounds a bit like Monday night at the monster truck rally.

Barbara Kingsolver won The Orange Prize for Fiction last week for her novel The Lacuna, an expansive story set primarily in Mexico that entwines the Mexican Revolution, McCarthyism, Freida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The novel took Kingsolver a decade to write and for the honor, Kingsolver beat out perpetual award winner Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and Lorrie Moore’s Gate At the Stairs. According to The Independent, the decision over who should win the award agonized the judges. The Orange Prize is annually awarded to a woman of any nationality for a novel written in English.


The Orange Award for New Writers went to Irene Sabatini, a Zimbabwean writer, for her novel The Boy Next Door, a novel about a relationship between a black woman and the son of her white neighbor, who is suspected of murder. Set during Zimbabwe’s break with British colonial rule, The Boy Next Door examines racial prejudice and post-colonial rule in the context of an interracial couple’s secrets. The award for new writers is given annually to the first published work of fiction by a woman of any nationality.

The New Yorker released its list (which, coming from the pages of The New Yorker is basically an award) of the 20 best writers under the age of 40 to watch, a list that, when last compiled a decade ago, included then-unknown writers Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Jonathan Franzen (whose novel Freedom is due in late August). While the list certainly sent many young, hopeful writers to extra therapy sessions, the UK’s The Guardian noted that the list was an “interesting and diverse line-up.” The New Yorker editor David Remnick said the list is “meant to shine a light on writers and get people to pay attention.” Presumably he means to great literature and not to his own publication.

(Aw shucks, we are taking the piss out of the magazine a bit but who can resist? Don’t worry, this editor Lacey N. Dunham has a secret subscription to the magazine, proving that it’s okay to make fun of friends.)

So here, complete with books to recommend and their age, the top 20 list:


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 32, is probably best known for her 2007 novel Half of a Yellow Sun. She has written other novels and, most recently, a short story collection.

Chris Adrian, 39, author of three novels (a forth is due later this year), including the McSweeney’s published The Children’s Hospital.

Daniel Alarcón, 33, a novelist, most recently edited The Secret Miracle: A Novelist’s Handbook.

David Bezmozgis, 37, has published a collection of short stories called Natasha: and other stories.

Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, 38, most recently published The Ms. Hempel Chronicles.

Joshua Ferris, 35, has published And Then We Came To The End and, most recently The Unnamed.

Jonathan Safran Foer, 33, is probably best known for Everything is Illuminated, a meta-novel whose American protagonist, Jonathan Safran Foer, travels to the Ukraine to uncover information about his Jewish grandfather.

Nell Freudenberger, 35, has published a novel, The Dissidents, and a short story collection, Lucky Girls.

Rivka Galchen, 34, published her first novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, in 2008.

Nicole Krauss, 35, is most known for her novel The History of Love. She has a new novel, Great House due out this fall.

Dinaw Mengestu, 31, is best known for The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears and has a forthcoming novel How To Read the Air due in October.

Philipp Meyer, 36, published his novel American Rust last year.

C .E. Morgan, 33, recently published her first novel, All the Living.

Téa Obreht, 24, is the youngest writer on the list. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker and The Atlantic, among others. Her novel The Tiger’s Wife is currently scheduled for publication in 2011.

Yiyun Li, 37, has published two collections of short stories and most recently the novel The Vagrants.

ZZ Packer

ZZ Packer, 37, published a short story collection, Drinking Coffee Elsewhere in 2004.

Karen Russell
, 28, has published the collection St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and has a novel, Swamplandia!, due in 2011.

Salvatore Scibona, 35, is the author of the novel The End.

Gary Shteyngart, 37, has published two novels, most notably Absurdistan. His latest novel, Super Sad True Love Story, will be published in July.

Wells Tower, 37, has published a collection of short stories, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.

Read the editors’ note on how they selected their list and then enjoy a Q&A with each of the writers mentioned.

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