canadian ~ twenty-first century literature since 1999


Scotiabank Giller Prize: 2006 Shortlist

Toronto, ON - On Oct. 3, 2006, in a morning press conference that drew over 100 media and members of the publishing industry, The Scotiabank Giller Prize announced its 2006 shortlist. 

TDR sent the publisher's father and retired professional photographer, Bill Bryson, into the fray. 

"How'd you like to go take a photo of Alice Munro?" his son asked. 

"Good idea," Bryson Sr. said. 

Then he asked his son, "Who else is going to be there?" 

To which Michael replied: "The rest of the jury: Michael Winter and somebody else." 

Later, after the event, Bryson Sr. gleefully called his son: "That person you couldn't remember ... was Adrienne Clarkson!" 

In the end, Ms. Munro was unable to attend. 

What follows is a compilation of his photographic report and the Giller's press release.

The five finalists were chosen from 101 books submitted for consideration by 36 publishing houses from every region of the country. 

They are:

Rawi Hage for his novel De Niro's Game, published by House of Anansi Press

Vincent Lam for his short story collection, Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, published by Doubleday Canada

Pascale Quiviger for her novel The Perfect Circle, translation by Sheila Fischman, Published by Cormorant Books

Gaetan Soucy for his novel The Immaculate Conception, translation by Lazer Lederhendler, published by House of Anansi Press

Carol Windley for her short story collection, Home Schooling, published by Cormorant Books

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ABOUT THE 2006 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE FINALISTS

Rawi Hage - DE NIRO'S GAME

Rawi Hage's first novel tells the tale of two young men trying to survive in the carnage of civil war in Beirut, Lebanon. Best friends since childhood, Bassam and George are faced with two choices for survival; to leave their home and take a chance in a foreign city, or join the corrupt militia and gain a foothold in war-torn Beirut. Bassam becomes obsessed with leaving the city, and commits a series of petty crimes to finance his departure. George amasses power in the militia-ruled underworld and lives a life of military service, crime for profit, killing and drugs. Ultimately, their separate paths explosively and tragically collide.

Rawi Hage was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war. He immigrated to Canada in 1992. He is a writer, visual artist, and curator. His writing has appeared in Fuse Magazine, Mizna, Jouvert, The Toronto Review and many others, and his visual art has been shown in galleries and museums around the world. Rawi Hage currently lives in Montreal.

Vincent Lam - BLOODLETTING & MIRACULOUS CURES

In this series of stories, Vincent Lam investigates both the common and extraordinary moral dilemmas of our times. Relationships develop among a group of young doctors as they move from the challenges of medical school to the intense world of emergency rooms, Evac missions and terrifying new viruses. In `How to Get into Medical School', the impulsive Fitz and the ultra-rational Ming explore a relationship that is tested not only by a disapproving family but by the extraordinary commitment each must make as medical students. In `Take All of Murphy', three students face the challenge of their first dissection of a corpse and decide whether to follow their anatomy textbook or whether keeping a tattoo intact is more important.

Vincent Lam was born in London, Ontario and grew up in Ottawa. His family is from the expatriate Chinese community of Vietnam. Vincent Lain is a doctor who did his medical training in Toronto and is an emergency physician who also does international evacuation work. His non-fiction writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail, the National Post and the University of Toronto Medical Journal. Lam's first novel will be published by Doubleday in 2007. He and his wife live in Toronto.

Pascale Quiviger - THE PERFECT CIRCLE

Translation by Sheila Fischman

While vacationing in Italy, Marianne meets and falls madly in love with Marco, an older man who lives in a small village in Tuscany. He has a habit of leaving Marianne to spend her days alone, creeping back into her life on the occasional evening for a meal, conversation and tenderness. Despite these mysterious lapses, Marianne, upon returning home to Montreal, cannot get Marco out of her head. She realizes that he is her one true love. She returns to Italy indefinitely to pursue her passion. She soon discovers that the `quaint' Tuscan village is simply small. Marco, it becomes clear, is very much a mama's boy, and the love she thought would conquer all, falls woefully short of her expectations.

Pascale Quiviger is the author of two books, both of which were published by Les Editions de L'instant meme, The first, Ni Sols, ni ciels, a collection of short stories, was published in 2001. The second, Le cercle parfait, was published in 2004 to universal acclaim. Born in Montreal, Quiviger holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy and a degree in Fine Arts. She lives in England and Italy, where she paints, writes and teaches visual arts. Her work has been exhibited in both Canada and Italy. She is married and has a daughter.

A native of Saskatchewan, Sheila Fischman was educated in Toronto, and subsequently moved to Quebec. Fischman's list of translations from the French includes some 8o translations from French to English, principally of novels by contemporary Quebec writers such as Yves Beauchemin, Lise Bissonnette, Marie-Claire Blais and Anne Hebert. She has received numerous prizes, was a two-time (1974 and 1984) winner of the Canada Council Translation Prize; won the Governor General's Translation Prize in 1998 for Michel Tremblay's Les vues animees; won the Felix-Antoine Savard twice; and was the winner of the IBBY Award for translation in 1998. Fischman was invested with the Order of Canada in 2000.

Gaetan Soucy - THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Translation by Lazer Lederhendler

East-end Montreal is the backdrop for this English translation of Gaetan Soucy's first novel, originally published in French in 1994. It is the mid-1920's in the city's working class parish of Nativite. A popular restaurant, the Grill aux Alouettes, is razed to the ground by an arsonist. Seventy five people perish in the inferno. While strolling with his wheelchair-ridden father, a man furtively salvages a charred icon from the ruins. He is Remouald Tremblay, a self-effacing bank clerk whose pocket holds a treasured rabbit's foot and whose memory contains an unspeakable hell. This is the story of lives so ordinary, they verge on the grotesque, coming alive in characters like the clubfooted schoolteacher, a demonic fire chief, a demented lumberjack, a pianist and a mortician.

Originally published in 1994 as L'Immaculee conception, this is the novel that established Gaetan Soucy as a powerful new literary force in Quebec. Soucy has written four novels, all to rave reviews in Quebec and abroad. He studied physics at l'Universite de Montreal, completed a Master's degree in philosophy and studied Japanese language and literature at McGill University. Gaetan Soucy lives and works in Montreal.

Lazer Lederhendler was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Translation in 1999 and 2002. He teaches English in Montreal.

Carol Windley - HOME SCHOOLING

These seven stories are framed against the rural landscape of Vancouver Island and the cities of the Pacific Northwest. The memories and dreams of characters are examined, revealing them in full as diverse and unforgettable individuals confronting their own sorrows and triumphs. In `Sand and Frost', a young girl faces up to a brutal, violent family tragedy. In `The Reading Elvis', Graham finds himself lost in a world of challenging multiplicity, as figures from the present and the past appear and disappear, as if mischievously illustrating for his benefit Nietzsche's Law of Eternal Return. In the title story, Annabel and the rest of her family struggles to assert their independence from her father and his vision of what their lives should be.

Carol Windley is the author of the award-winning collection of short stories, Visible Light, and the acclaimed novel, Breathing Underwater. Visible Light, her debut collection, won the 1993 Bumbershoot Award (Weyehauser's fiction prize) and was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize as well as the Governor General's Literary Award. Windley fiction has been published in literary magazines across Canada, including The Malahat Review, Event Magazine, and Descant. In 2002, she won a Western Magazine Award for `What Saffi Knows', the opening story in Home Schooling. Born on Vancouver Island, Windley has taught at Malaspina College, and now lives in Nanaimo with her husband.

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Jack Rabinovitch, who founded the Prize in 1994 in memory of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, spoke at the press conference. He was joined by jurors Adrienne Clarkson and Michael Winter who announced the shortlist.

The Broadcast Partner

CTV is the broadcast partner for The Scotiabank Giller Prize for the second year in a row. CTV personality Seamus O'Regan will reprise his role as host of the prize gala and broadcast this year. Additional details regarding the broadcast will be announced soon.

Scotiabank

This is the second year of the partnership between The Giller Prize and Scotiabank. John Doig, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, Domestic Personal Banking, Scotiabank, was at the news conference and said, "Literature is a cornerstone for arts and culture in Canada and Scotiabank is proud to support and celebrate the literary accomplishments and aspirations of Canadian writers. This relationship reinforces our commitment to the literary community."

In September of 2005, Jack Rabinovitch announced that Scotiabank would become the first ever co-sponsor of Canada's richest literary award for fiction. Under the new agreement, the prize became known as The Scotiabank Giller Prize. As a result of the bank's involvement, the prize purse doubled, growing to Cdn$50,000 with $40,000 going to the winner, and $2,500 being given to each of the four finalists.

This year, the finalists will be honoured and a winner announced at a gala black tie dinner and awards ceremony to be held at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel on November 7, 2006.

`Guess the Giller' Promotion

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is pleased to be partnering with public libraries across the country for the fourth annual `Guess the Giller' promotion. The promotion began with the Toronto Public Library through a pilot project in 2003. Today, the promotion is running in 17 libraries across Canada. The first two winning entries at each library will receive the entire 2006 shortlist library. Scotiabank will also run its own Guess the Giller contest through its 950 branches across the country.

Harbourfront International Festival of Authors

For the third year in a row, the Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists will have the honour of reading at the IFOA's Closing Night on Saturday, October 28th. For more information, please visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com. On the same day, starting at 3pm, the finalists have been invited to participate in a LonPenTM signing from Harbourfront Centre into the Nicholas Hoare bookstore on Greene Ave. in Montreal. Operating over the Internet, the Margaret Atwood-invented LongPenTM, allows authors to interact with readers via video conferencing and sign autographs anywhere in the world without actually being there in person. Please visit www.longpen.com for more details.

The Giller Light

On Giller night, November 7th and for the fourth year in a row Frontier College will host The Giller Light Bash, to be held at The Steamwhistle Brewery. Their goal is to raise funds to help children and youth improve their reading and writing skills through an expansion of Frontier College's Homework Clubs and after-school literacy programs for inner-city students. To date, the Giller Light Bash has raised over $40,000 for Frontier College. Please visit www.gillerlight.ca for more information.

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2005 the Bank provided more than $40 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education and social services. Scotiabank is on the World Wide Web at www.scotiabank.com.

CTV is the proud broadcast partner for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Like The JUNO Awards and Canada's Walk of Fame, the Scotiabank Giller Prize is an integral part of CTV's winning broadcast schedule and its lineup of nation-building programs.

 

 

 

 

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