West coast authors Patrick deWitt and Esi Edugyan scored double victories Tuesday when their latest novels were named to both the long list for Canada’s Scotiabank Giller Prize and the prestigious six-book short list for Britain’s Man Booker Prize.
B.C.-born Oregon resident DeWitt was nominated for his second novel, The Sisters Brothers, a dark comedy published internationally to rave reviews.
Edugyan’s novel, Half Blood Blues, was first published in Britain, its Canadian issue delayed by the bankruptcy of publisher Key Porter Books. The author currently lives in Victoria, B.C.
The Giller list is indeed long, comprising a total of 17 titles this year, many written by previous nominees and winners. They include works by such well-known authors as Michael Ondaatje, nominated for The Cat’s Table, Guy Vanderhaege ( A Good Man), Wayne Johnston ( A World Elsewhere) and Marina Endicott ( The Little Shadows).
Debut novelists who made the list include highly regarded David Bezmozgis, nominated for The Free World, and Alexi Zentner, author of Touch. Both novels have been published internationally to glowing reviews.
Three collections of short stories also made the list. They are The Meagre Tarmac by veteran author and teacher Clarke Blaise, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Zsuzsi Gartner and The Beggar’s Garden, a debut collection by Vancouver author Michael Christie.
Also nominated are Lynn Coady for The Antagonist, Genni Gunn for Solitaria, former Giller nominee Pauline Holdstock for Into the Heart of the Country, Dany Laferrière for The Return and Suzette Mayr for The Monoceros.
For the first time this year’s list also includes a title nominated by CBC listeners and designated a Readers’ Choice selection: Extensions, by Myrna Dey.
“The Canadian fiction we have unanimously chosen exhibits an astonishing range of dramatic incident, subject, narrative strategy and memorable characters,” the Giller jury declared in a statement accompanying the announcement of the long list.
The three-person panel is made up of Canadian novelist and 2009 Giller finalist Annabel Lyon, joined by U.S. author and Guggenheim fellow Howard Norman and acclaimed U.K. playwright and prize-winning novelist Andrew O'Hagan.