The 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury announced its shortlist on Monday, October 5, 2015, derived from a longlist of 12 books. The jury read an astonishing 168 works of fiction this year – a record number of books in the prize’s twenty two year history – submitted by 63 publishers, from every region of the country. The longlist was selected by an esteemed five-member jury panel: Irish author John Boyne (Jury Chair), Canadian writers Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod and Alison Pick, and British author Helen Oyeyemi.
The shortlisted finalists for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize are as follows:
Excerpted from FIFTEEN DOGS. Copyright © André Alexis, 2015. Excerpted by permission of Coach House Books, Toronto. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
What does it mean to be alive? To think, to feel, to love and to envy? André Alexis explores all of this and more in the extraordinary Fifteen Dogs, an insightful and philosophical meditation on the nature of consciousness. It’s a novel filled with balancing acts: humour juxtaposed with savagery, solitude with the desperate need to be part of a pack, perceptive prose interspersed with playful poetry. A wonderful and original piece of writing that challenges the reader to examine their own existence and recall the age old question, what’s the meaning of life?
André Alexis was born in Trinidad and grew up in Canada. His debut novel, Childhood, won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, the Trillium Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. His other previous books include Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf and, most recently Pastoral, which was also nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was named a Globe and Mail Top 100 book of 2014.
Donald Winkler (translator)
Excerpted from ARVIDA Copyright © Samuel Archibald, 2015. Translation copyright © Donald Winkler. Excerpted by permission of Biblioasis. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Samuel Archibald’s stories come from over there: way, way over there. They live in the woods, hunting for creatures that may or may not exist, and they sometimes go surging down the highway at reckless speeds. At other times, they freeze, paralysed by the strange sounds that should not be coming from empty rooms in very old houses. This writing – so wise and funny and impeccably crafted – is the best kind of gossip: it tells us everything we need to know, the real dirt, about this place and about all the people, the true ‘characters,’ we meet wandering up and down the cryptic streets of a real but mythic Arvida. There is a lot of whispering going on in this town, a lot of information that strains credulity, a lot of laughter, a lot of suspense, a bit of fear. Arvida is just like life: a tender, sometimes terrifying, mystery unfolding before our eyes.
Samuel Archibald‘s debut collection of short fiction, Arvida (Éditions Le Quartanier, 2011), won Quebec’s Prix Des Libraries 2012 and Prix Coup de Coeur Renaud-Bray 2012. He currently teaches contemporary popular culture at the University of Quebec in Montreal, where he lectures on genre fiction, horror movies, and video games, among other subjects.
Donald Winkler is a Montreal- based literary translator and documentary filmmaker. He has translated French language fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for many years, and is a three-time winner of the Governor General’s Award for French-to-English translation, most recently, in 2013, for Pierre Nepveu’s collection of verse, The Major Verbs.
published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
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Excerpted from OUTLINE. Copyright © 2014 by Rachel Cusk. Excerpted by permission of Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, by arrangement with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Compulsively readable and dazzlingly intelligent, Rachel Cusk’s Outline follows a writer’s journey to Athens to teach a summer writing course. Along the way she encounters a cast of characters who share with her the outlines of their own life stories. The result is a novel of breathtaking skill and originality. Perfectly paced, without a word out of place, Outline reminds us of the truly formidable power that good literature has to change our hearts and our minds.
Rachel Cusk is the author of seven novels: Saving Agnes, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award; The Temporary; The Country Life, which won a Somerset Maugham Award; The Lucky Ones, which was shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award; In the Fold; Arlington Park, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize; and The Bradshaw Variations. Her non-fiction books are A Life’s Work, The Last Supper, and Aftermath. In 2003 she was chosen as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. Born in Canada, Rachel lives in London, England.
Excerpted from DAYDREAMS OF ANGELS. Copyright © 2015 by Heather O’Neill. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of acute charm and radically deft imagination. Whether probing the behaviour of clones for some sign of a relationship between genes and genius, eavesdropping on the anecdotes of abandoned dolls, or detailing the particulars of ‘A Portrait Of The Marquis de Sade As A Young Girl’, O’Neill’s stories continually spar with that which so often defines our lives or limits our daring – the problem of pain. Here are characters born of a distinctive sensibility and sent forth to chart the strange and volatile terrain where grace is found, lost, and found again. There’s no thrill quite like encountering tales this tall, and few tall tales offer up their gifts this freely.
Heather O’Neill is the author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, which was a finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, won CBC’s Canada Reads and the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Orange Prize. O’Neill is a regular contributor to CBC Books, CBC Radio, This American Life, The New York Times Magazine, The Gazette, The Walrus and The Globe and Mail. She was born in Montreal, where she currently lives.
Excerpted from MARTIN JOHN Copyright © Anakana Schofield, 2015. Excerpted by permission of A John Metcalf Book an imprint of Biblioasis. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Stylish and provocative, Martin John comes at you as soft and lyrical as a folk song. But like the tune that refuses to stop repeating itself, it is hauntingly about all those memories of suspect desires and guilty pleasures, of knowing right from wrong, of wanting to do what even your mamma would want you to do but maybe you just can’t. As readers, we find Martin John a tantalizing reflection on living the contradictions in every identity and of definitively knowing what is real. At its heart, this is a bittersweet story of personal confrontations such as asking do I always want what others — even my mother — want for me.
Anakana Schofield won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and the Debut-Litzer Prize for Fiction in 2013 for her debut novel Malarky. Irish-Canadian, she has lived in London and in Dublin, Ireland and presently lives in Vancouver. Malarky was also nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, selected as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick, and named on many best books of 2012 lists. Schofield has contributed criticism and essays to the London Review of Books Blog, The Guardian, The Irish Times and The Globe and Mail and more.