Noted Canadian authors Lisa Moore and Lynn Coady have been shortlisted for the $50,000 Giller Prize.
Organizers unveiled this year's five finalists at an event in Toronto Tuesday morning. The Giller toasts the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English over the past year.
The nominees are:
- Toronto writer Dennis Bock for his novel Going Home Again.
- Edmonton's Lynn Coady for the short story collection Hellgoing.
- Toronto writer Craig Davidson for his novel Cataract City.
- St. John's author Lisa Moore for her novel Caught.
- Edmonton's Dan Vyleta for his novel The Crooked Maid.
Two of this year's writers are past contenders, while three are nominated for the first time.
Moore was previously nominated in 2002 for her short story collection Open and a finalist in 2005 for her novel Alligator. Coady was previously nominated for her novel The Antagonist in 2011.
This year's jury — American writer Jonathan Lethem and past Giller winners Margaret Atwood and Esi Edugyan — chose the short list after reading 147 books submitted by 61 publishers from across Canada.
'Literary excellence is recognizable. You feel it. Even if you can't say why [or] you can't always persuade someone else. You feel it' - Giller juror and author Jonathan Lethem
"We wish that the short list could be a longer short list," Edugyan told CBC News immediately after the announcement.
"I was racked with nerves last night, I couldn't sleep. You feel such a responsibility... you just wish you could include everyone."
Great writing sets itself apart, according to Lethem.
"Literary excellence is recognizable. You feel it. Even if you can't say why [or] you can't always persuade someone else. You feel it," he said. "If it's something you care about, things do rise to the surface."
Established by businessman Jack Rabinovitch in memory of his late literary journalist wife Doris Giller, the prize has become one of Canada's most prestigious fiction honours and spawned a post-win sales boom dubbed "The Giller effect." In addition to the $50,000 main prize for the winner, the remaining finalists receive $5,000 each.
The award celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Past recipients have included Mordecai Richler, M.G. Vassanji, Joseph Boyden, Alice Munro, Linden MacIntyre and Will Ferguson.
There were a few notable omissions on the list of finalists, including Northern Ontario author and past winner Joseph Boyden's widely praised The Orenda and Extraordinary, the latest novel from Toronto writer and lecturer David Gilmour, who recently made headlines for telling an interviewer he wasn't "interested in teaching books by women."
The winner of the 2013 Giller Prize will be announced on Nov. 5 at a televised gala airing on CBC-TV.