Posts tagged ‘prizes’

December 15, 2010

Man Asian Literary Prize Longlist Announced

by thiszine

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.

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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 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.

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.