The long list for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize, comprising a wide-ranging selection of books that include both first-time authors and a former winner, was revealed on Wednesday.
The 12 nominees for the $100,000 prize include Mona Awad for her novel-in-stories 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, which won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award earlier this year; Gary Barwin for his comic adventure novel Yiddish for Pirates; Zoe Whittall for her novel The Best Kind of People, about a community dealing with the aftermath of a beloved teacher's arrest for sexual assault; Emma Donoghue for her soon-to-be-published novel The Wonder, about a nurse investigating a possible miracle in mid-19th-century rural Ireland; Andrew Battershill for his surreal literary crime novel, Pillow; Madeleine Thien for her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing, which was also recently long-listed for the Man Booker Prize; and Steven Price for his epic Victorian thriller, By Gaslight. (His partner Esi Edugyan, coincidentally, won the Giller in 2011.) David Bergen, who won the prize in 2005 for his novel The Time in Between, is nominated for his just-released novel, Stranger, about a mother searching for her missing daughter.
The long list also includes two short-story collections – Willem De Kooning's Paintbrush, by Kerry Lee Powell, and The Two of Us, by Kathy Page – and one novel in translation: Catherine Leroux's English-language debut, The Party Wall, translated by Lazer Lederhendler.
Finally, former war correspondent Susan Perly has been recognized for her novel Death Valley, about a photojournalist who heads to Nevada to photograph soldiers before they deploy to Iraq; this is the first-ever Giller nomination for her Hamilton-based publisher, Wolsak and Wynn.
The finalists were chosen by a jury consisting of Canadian authors Kathleen Winter and Lawrence Hill; journalist and critic Jeet Heer; British novelist Samantha Harvey; and Scottish writer Alan Warner. In total, they considered 161 books for the prize.
"The books span a range of narrative styles – some playfully verbose and others quietly powerful," read the jury's citation. "The books explore various obsessions: genocide in 20th-century China and in medieval Spain; the neglect, abuse or theft of children in Ireland, North America and Guatemala; the dangers of nuclear testing; the unapologetic pursuit of crime and criminals; and the surprising ways that table manners, travel, body shape, illness, violence and love influence self-esteem and intimate relationships."
The announcement of the long list marks the unofficial start to the fall's literary awards race; the short lists for the Writers' Trust Awards will be announced later this month, while the finalists for the Governor-General's Literary Awards will be unveiled in early October.
READ THE REVIEWS
Andrew Battershill's Pillow
Susan Perly's Death Valley
Catherine Leroux's The Party Wall
David Bergen's Stranger
Emma Donoghue's The Wonder
Gary Barwin's Yiddish for Pirates
Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush
The Giller Prize finalists will be revealed Sept. 26, while the winner will be announced Nov. 7.