“It’s a good time to be Lynn Coady.”
It was less than 24 hours after this week’s Giller Prize ceremony, and Sarah MacLachlan, the president and publisher of House of Anansi Press, was summing up the state of things for the Edmonton writer and her now-prize-winning short-story collection, Hellgoing.
Anansi had already bumped up the size of its post-Giller reprint of the book to 60,000; it had decided to go back to press with Coady’s 2011 Giller-nominated novel, The Antagonist; and calls had been coming in to Coady’s New York agent all morning from British, European and U.S. publishers looking to make a deal for Hellgoing.
Not bad for a short-story collection which had originated, as Coady told reporters after her win, as a way to deal with writer’s block: “I didn’t have another idea for a novel,” she said. “After the Giller nomination in 2011, I thought – ‘Gotta get a book out there, you have to capitalize on that momentum.’ I actually had writer’s block, and I felt really stuck… but I was writing short stories and I was having fun with them…, so I thought, we’ll just throw these all together and we’ll see what happens.’”
She later told The Globe’s Books editor Jared Bland that “getting published, just having readers, is incredibly validating. But when you’ve been at it for a while and you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m putting all these years and my heart and blood and sweat into this novel, what’s going to keep me going?’ For this to come along at this point in my career, I feel like, okay, this is going to get me over that hump.”