The shortlist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize was announced at Ben McNally Books in Toronto on Monday morning. The varied list, which features short stories, a debut novel and several familiar names, includes: Krista Bridge, nominated for her debut novel, The Eliot Girls; Lynn Coady for her short story collection Hellgoing; Cary Fagan for his short novel A Bird’s Eye; Colin McAdam for his novel A Beautiful Truth; and Lisa Moore for her novel Caught.
The list is almost as notable for what is not on it, including Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam and Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda, both of which have generated impressive buzz as the fall publishing season ramps up. Moore and Coady are both also on the long list for the Scotiabank Giller Prize; three of the five books, including those two, are published by House of Anansi Press.
The $25,000 prize has risen to prominence in recent years, perhaps overtaking the Governor-General’s Award as the country’s second most influential fiction prize, behind the Giller. It has a history of choosing unexpected winners, and often ones that go on to great success: It was the only major Canadian award won by Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes, now one of the bestselling novels of the past five years; it recognized Boyden early in his career by giving the prize to his debut novel, Three Day Road. The prize’s jury, consisting of Caroline Adderson, Alison Pick and Miguel Syjuco, considered 115 titles this year.
This year’s winner will be announced at a ceremony in Toronto on November 20.