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There are little libraries scattered throughout Toronto and the premise is that people are free to take books from these libraries and people also return the favour by adding their own books to the library.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Scotiabank announced on Monday that they would be giving “book bundles” to Little Free Library locations across Canada. The bundles, which should reach Little Free Library shelves in two weeks, are of the five shortlisted books that have been nominated for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize, an annual literary award that’s been given out since 1994.

Little Free Library is a Wisconsin-based non-profit organization that has more than 100,000 libraries in more than 100 countries across the globe. According to its mission statement, Little Free Library book shelves and boxes “are open seven days a week, 24 hours a day and are freely accessible to all, removing barriers to book access.”

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“We are thrilled to work with the Scotiabank Giller Prize team on this opportunity for Little Free Library stewards in Canada,” said Margret Aldrich, communications director for Little Free Library, in an e-mail to The Globe.

“A key part of our mission is to be a catalyst for expanding book access, and it’s wonderful to see such stellar works of literature flooding little libraries and getting into the hands of even more readers. It would be wonderful to continue this partnership for years to come.”

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is awarded to the best English-language works in Canadian fiction as decided by a juried competition. Scotiabank has partnered with the Giller Prize since 2005, which led to the award changing its name. The partnership also led to an increase in winnings for finalists and winners.

This year’s shortlist was announced on October 5, whittled down from the longlist that was announced on September 8. The process began with the submission of 132 works.

The 2021 finalists are:

  • What Strange Paradise, novel by Omar El Akkad
  • Glorious Frazzled Beings, short story collection by Angélique Lalonde
  • The Son of the House, novel by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia
  • The Listeners, novel by Jordan Tannahill
  • Fight Night, novel by Miriam Toews

Each finalist is granted $10,000 and the winner receives $100,000. This year’s jury is composed of Canadian authors Zalika Reid-Benta (acting as jury chair), Megan Gail Coles and Joshua Whitehead, as well as Malaysian author Tash Aw and American author Joshua Ferris.

The winner will be announced in a commercial-free broadcast presented by the CBC on November 8. It will be hosted by Canadian actor and television host Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and poet Rupi Kaur.

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