Giller jury serves up astonishing longlist

September 4, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

David Bergen. M.G. Vassanji. Donna Morrissey. Rawi Hage. Linden MacIntyre. Vincent Lam.

These are a half-dozen of the heavy hitters who did not make it onto the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. Also absent are word-of-mouth favourites such as Anakana Schofield, Carrie Snyder, Emily Schultz, and Lynn Crosbie.

In their place, this year’s jury, made up of Irish author Roddy Doyle, American author Gary Shteyngart, and Canadian author Anna Porter, has chosen a baker’s dozen made up of first-timers, genre writers, and previously overlooked names. Only one of the longlisted titles – Annabel Lyon’s The Sweet Girl – is by an author who has previously been nominated for the prize. Marjorie Celona and Kim Thúy are nominated for their first books, and Cary Fagan and Russell Wangersky appear with short-story collections. Other surprises include Lauren B. Davis’s thriller Our Daily Bread, which was actually released last year in the U.S., Katrina Onstad’s second novel, Everybody Has Everything, and Will Ferguson’s thriller 419.

The longlist in full:

  • Y by Marjorie Celona
  • Our Daily Bread by Lauren B. Davis
  • My Life Among the Apes by Cary Fagan
  • 419 by Will Ferguson
  • Dr. Brinkley’s Tower by Robert Hough
  • One Good Hustle by Billie Livingston
  • The Sweet Girl by Annabel Lyon
  • Inside by Alix Ohlin
  • Everybody Has Everything by Katrina Onstad
  • The Emperor of Paris by CS Richardson
  • The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler
  • Ru by Kim Thúy
  • Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky

Random House of Canada has the largest number of nominations with four, and House of Anansi Press, Penguin, and HarperCollins Canada each clock in with two. The remaining publishers, Cormorant Books, McClelland & Stewart, and Thomas Allen Publishers, have one apiece. For those who count such things (you know who you are), eight of the authors are women, and five are men.

When the jury was first announced, I expressed optimism that the diverse sensibilities of the three members might produce a list that broke with tradition in some interesting ways. They have done this, and then some. Whatever you may think of today’s announcement, you’ll probably agree that this is the most surprising longlist in the nineteen-year history of the Giller Prize.

The shortlist will be revealed on October 1, with the winner announced on October 30.


One Response to “Giller jury serves up astonishing longlist”
  1. Alex says:

    I’m astonished that you found this longlist astonishing.