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Russell Smith plumbs the psyches of the seemingly superficial in frequently funny prose.

Globe and Mail arts columnist Russell Smith is among the nominees for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, which were announced in Toronto on Tuesday.

Smith's short-story collection, Confidence, which probes the lives of a group of largely middle-aged men and women living in Toronto as they struggle with issues of aging, ambition, money and sex, was also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize earlier this month.

Another author nominated for both prizes is Toronto's André Alexis, whose novel Fifteen Dogs concerns a pack of canines granted human consciousness and language in order to settle a bet between two Greek gods. His previous novel, 2014's Pastoral, was also a finalist for the $25,000 prize.

Ottawa writer Elizabeth Hay, winner of the 2007 Giller Prize, is nominated for her fifth novel, His Whole Life, a coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of the 1995 Quebec referendum.

Rounding out the short list are Vancouver journalist-turned-novelist John Vaillant for The Jaguar's Children, about a group of migrants trapped in the tanker of a water truck while being smuggled across the Mexican-American border, and Kitchener, Ont., poet and children's author Pamela Mordecai for her debut novel, Red Jacket, about a young woman growing up on a small Caribbean island searching for a sense of belonging.

In total, this year's jury – authors Aislinn Hunter, Shani Mootoo and Richard Wagamese – considered 127 books submitted by 50 publishers.

The finalists for the Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize were also revealed on Tuesday: Emily Bossé for Last Animal Standing on Gentleman's Farm; Deirdre Dore for The Wise Baby; and Anna Ling Kaye for Red Egg and Ginger. The winner of the prize, which celebrates the best short story published in a Canadian magazine or literary journal each year and has launched the careers of such authors as Yann Martel and Alissa York, receives $10,000.

The winners of both prizes will be announced on Nov. 3.

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