Books

14 Canadian authors longlisted for $100K Scotiabank Giller Prize

The $100,000 award annually recognizes the best in Canadian fiction.

This year's longlist includes authors Billy-Ray Belcourt, Rawi Hage, Sheila Heti and more

These are the Canadian titles in the running for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize. (CBC)

Fourteen writers have been longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The $100,000 award annually recognizes the best in Canadian fiction.

The announcement was hosted by at an event in St. John's by author Omar El Akkad, who won the 2021 Giller Prize for his novel What Strange Paradise.

Two of the longlisted titles are not yet available to the public. Billy-Ray Belcourt's first novel, A Minor Chorus, is set to be published on Sept. 13 and The Sleeping Car Porter, Suzette Mayr's sixth novel, will be published on Sept. 27.

Debut novels by Canadian authors feature prominently on the 2022 longlist: Belcourt's A Minor Chorus, In the City of Pigs by Toronto's André Forget, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Egyptian Canadian author Noor Naga, Lucien & Olivia  by Ontario-based writer André Narbonne, All the Quiet Places by B.C.-based author Brian Thomas Isaac, Avenue of Champions by Métis and Ukrainian writer Conor Kerr and We Measure the Earth With Our Bodies by Toronto writer Tsering Yangzom Lama.

Two short story collections made the list: Stray Dogs by Rawi Hage and Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu.

No previous winners cracked the longlist, but two previous finalists make an appearance: Hage was shortlisted in 2008 for Cockroach and Sheila Heti was shortlisted for Motherhood in 2018. 

Here is the full 2022 longlist:

Canadian novels and short story collections published between Oct. 1, 2021 and Sept. 30, 2022, were eligible for this year's prize. The 14 titles were chosen from a field of 138 books submitted by publishers all across Canada. 

Canadian author Casey Plett is chairing the five-person jury panel this year. Joining her are Canadian authors Kaie Kellough and Waubgeshig Rice and American writers Katie Kitamura and Scott Spencer.

This year the prize celebrates its 29th anniversary. The 2022 shortlist will be announced on Sept. 27, 2022 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 7, 2022.

Last year's winner was Omar El Akkad for his novel What Strange Paradise

Other past Giller Prize winners include Souvankham Thammavongsa for How to Pronounce Knife, Esi Edugyan for Washington Black, Michael Redhill for Bellevue Square, Margaret Atwood for Alias Grace, Mordecai Richler for Barney's Version, Alice Munro for Runaway, André Alexis for Fifteen Dogs and Madeleine Thien for Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch founded the prize in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, in 1994. Rabinovitch died in 2017 at the age of 87.

You can learn more about all 14 longlisted books below.

A Minor Chorus by Billy-Ray Belcourt

A Minor Chorus is a novel by Billy-Ray Belcourt. (Hamish Hamilton, Jaye Simpson)

A Minor Chorus is the debut novel from Griffin Poetry Prize-winning poet and author Billy-Ray Belcourt. A Minor Chorus follows an unnamed narrator who abandons his thesis and goes back to his hometown, where he has a series of intimate encounters bringing the modern queer and Indigenous experience into focus.

 A Minor Chorus is set to be published on Sept. 13.

Belcourt is a writer and academic from Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta. In 2016, he became the first Indigenous person from Canada to be a Rhodes Scholar.  Belcourt won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for This Wound is a World. The debut collection also won the 2018 Indigenous Voices Award for most significant work of poetry in English and was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.

His second book, NDN Coping Mechanisms, uses poetry, prose and textual art to explore how Indigenous and queer communities are left out of mainstream media. It was on the Canada Reads 2020 longlist and was shortlisted for the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards.

In the City of Pigs by André Forget

In the City of Pigs is a novel by André Forget. (Dundurn Press)

The novel In the City of Pigs centres around a failed musician obsessed with avant-garde art. He soon finds himself in a shadowy world where bohemian excess meets the avaricious interests of a real estate cabal.

André Forget was born in Toronto and raised in Mount Forest, Ont. He is the former editor-in-chief of The Puritan, and his work has appeared in a variety of magazines and newspapers in Canada and the United States.

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Kim Fu is the author of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century. (L D’Alessandro, Coach House Books)

In this collection of stories, Kim Fu turns the familiar on its head to weave tales of new worlds where strange happenings, like a girl growing wings on her legs or toy boxes that control the passage of time, are the ordinary trappings of everyday life. The stories deal with themes of death, technological consequence, guilt and sexuality and unmask the contradictions within humanity. 

Kim Fu is a Washington-based, Canadian-born fiction writer and poet. She has published two other works of fiction, For Today I Am a Boy and The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, and a book of poetry, How Festive the Ambulance. Fu was named a writer to watch by CBC Books in 2022.

Kim Fu talks to Shelagh Rogers about her short story collection, Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century.

Stray Dogs by Rawi Hage

Stray Dogs is a book by Rawi Hage. (Knopf Canada, Madeleine Thien)

The characters in this short story collection are restless travellers, moving between nation states and states of mind, seeking connection and trying to escape the past. Set in Montreal, Beirut, Tokyo and more, these stories highlight the often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed and reborn. 

Rawi Hage is a Montreal-based writer. His books include De Niro's Game, which won the International Dublin Literary Award in 2008; Cockroach, which received the Hugh MacLennan Prize for fiction, was defended by Samantha Bee on Canada Reads in 2014, and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award; Carnival, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize; and Beirut Hellfire Society, which was on the shortlist for the the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction

Rawi Hage talks to Shelagh Rogers about his book Stray Dogs and Other Stories.

Pure Colour by Sheila Heti

Sheila Heti is the author of Pure Colour. (Margaux Williamson, Knopf Random Vintage Canada)

Pure Colour follows a woman named Mira, who leaves home for school and meets a person named Annie. Annie has this power over Mira and opens her chest like a portal. Many years later when Mira is older, her father dies and his spirit passes into her. Together, they become a leaf on a tree. But when photosynthesis gets boring, Mira must choose whether or not to return to Annie and the human world she has left behind.

Pure Colour is a funny exploration of the wonderful and terrible aspects of being alive.

Sheila Heti is a Canadian playwright and author whose work has been translated in over a dozen languages. Her novel Motherhood was on the shortlist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize. She is also the author of the novels Ticknor and How Should a Person Be? and the self-help book The Chairs Are Where the People Go.

Sheila Heti on her favourite character in fiction, her greatest regret and more.

All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac

All the Quiet Places is a novel by Brian Thomas Isaac. (Touchwood Editions)

In All the Quiet Places, it's 1956 and young Eddie Toma lives on the far edge of the Okanagan Indian Reserve with his mother and little brother. In the summer, he tags along with his mother, her friends and his nephew to farm in Washington state. After tragedy strikes, Eddie comes home grief-stricken, confused and lonely. As he grows up, his life is governed by the decisions of the adults around him. And every time things start to look up, circumstances beyond his control crash down around him — and the effects of guilt, grief and despair keep piling up, threatening everything Eddie has ever known or loved.

Brian Thomas Isaac was born on the Okanagan Indian Reserve in B.C. He's worked in oil fields, as a bricklayer and had a short career riding bulls in local rodeos. As a lover of sports, he has coached minor hockey. All the Quiet Places is his first book and was on the Canada Reads 2022 longlist.

First-time Okanagan author Brian Thomas Isaac is included on the Canada Reads long list for his novel All the Quiet Places

Avenue of Champions by Conor Kerr

Avenue of Champions is a novel by Conor Kerr. (Nightwood Editions, Zachary Ayotte)

Set in Edmonton, Kerr's Avenue of Champions explores the lives of Indigenous youth and the colonial contexts in which they grow up, including the violence, racism and trauma they endure and the cultural lessons, land rights, elder relationships and language revitalization they fight for. Avenue of Champions won the 2022 ReLit Award and was a finalist for the 2022 Amazon Canada First Novel Award

Kerr is a Métis and Ukrainian educator, writer, poet and harvester. He is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta and is descended from the Gladue, Ginther and Quinn families from the Lac Ste. Anne and Fort Des Prairies Métis communities and the Papaschase Cree Nation. His poem Prairie Ritual was on the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr

The Sleeping Car Porter is a book by Suzette Mayr. (Coach House Books)

The Sleeping Car Porter tells the story of Baxter, a Black man in 1929 who works as a sleeping-car porter on a train that travels across the country. He smiles and tries to be invisible to the passengers, but what he really wants is to save up and go to dentistry school. On one particular trip out west, the train is stalled and Baxter finds a naughty postcard of two gay men. The postcard reawakens his memories and longings and puts his job in jeopardy. 

The Sleeping Car Porter will be available on Sept. 27, 2022.

Suzette Mayr is a poet and novelist based in Calgary. She is the author of the novels Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall, Monoceros, Moon Honey, The Widows and Venous Hum. Monoceros won the ReLit Award, the City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Book Prize and made the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.

Suzette Mayr on her novel, which satirizes the life of academia

If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English by Noor Naga

If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is a book by Noor Naga. (Graywolf Press, Noor Naga)

Set shortly after the events of the Arab Spring, If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English is a novel that traces the relationship between two people — a wealthy Egyptian American woman and an unemployed man from the village of Shobrakheit — who meet in a cafe in Cairo. The pair fall in love but must contend with issues of identity, class and violence as they try to build a lasting relationship.

Noor Naga is an Egyptian Canadian writer. She won the 2017 Bronwen Wallace Award for her poem The Mistress and the Ping. She also won the Disquiet Fiction Prize in 2019. In 2020, Noor was named a writer to watch by CBC Books. Her first book, the poetry collection Washes, Prays, was published in 2020 and was named among the best poetry of the year by CBC Books. Noor is an instructor at the American University in Cairo.

In her new novel-in-verse Washes, Prays, Noor Naga proposes there is space in CanLit between the Muslim terrorist and saint, for a Muslim mistress. Her book tells the story of a young Muslim woman in Toronto who has an affair with a married man, then faces a spiritual crisis. It's also an exploration of loneliness, longing, faith, and the role of technology in modern love.

Lucien and Olivia by André Narbonne

Lucien & Olivia is a book by André Narbonne. (Black Moss Press)

Lucien and Olivia is a comic novel that explores the often transactional nature of life and how humans interact with each other. In 1980s Halifax, a time before mobile devices and social media, a marine engineer working on a Canadian tanker and a university student working on her philosophy degree randomly connect and are both repulsed yet drawn to each other's differences. The couple try to navigate love and a healthy relationship — despite how much the odds are stacked up against them.

André Narbonne is a Canadian professor and author. His short stories have won the Atlantic Writing Competition, the FreeFall Prose Contest and the David Adams Richards Prize. He teaches English and creative writing at the University of Windsor and is the fiction editor of the Windsor Review. Narbonne's poetry collection, You Were Here, was published in 2016. His short story collection, Twelve Miles to Midnight, was a 2017 finalist for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. Lucien & Olivia is his debut novel.

Hotline by Dimitri Nasrallah

Hotline by is a book by Dimitri Nasrallah. (Vehicule Press, Bruno Destombes)

It's 1986 and Muna Heddad has left behind a civil war in Lebanon and is living in Montreal. The only work she can find is as a hotline operator at a weight-loss centre where she fields calls from people responding to ads in magazines or on TV. These strangers have so much to say about their challenges, from marriages gone bad to personal inadequacies. Although her life in Canada is filled with invisible barriers, Muna is privy to her clients' deepest secrets.

Dimitri Nasrallah is a writer from Lebanon. He is the author of novels The Bleeds; Niko, which won the 2011 Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction; and Blackbodying, winner of Quebec's McAuslan First Book Prize. Nasrallah lives in Montreal and is the fiction editor at Esplanade Books.

Dimitri Nasrallah on his latest book, The Bleeds.

What We Both Know by Fawn Parker

What We Both Know is writer Fawn Parker's third novel. (Penguin Random House Canada)

In What We Both Know, protagonist Hillary Greene's father, a famous author, is losing his memory in his old age — and with it, his ability to write. As an aspiring author and his full-time caretaker, Hillary agrees to ghostwrite his memoir — but delving into his past leads to unearthing buried memories of the abuse of her late sister Pauline, who took her own life not long ago.

Based in Toronto and Fredericton, Parker is also the author of the novels Set-Point and Dumb Show. Her story Feed Machine was longlisted for the 2020 McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of Toronto and is a PhD candidate in creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. Parker was named a writer to watch by CBC Books in 2022.

Fawn Parker on her novel, What We Both Know.

We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies by Tsering Yangzom Lama

In her debut novel, author Tsering Yangzom Lama asks why Tibetan voices and narratives have been ignored in the world’s conversation about the diasporic community. (Paige Critcher, McClelland & Stewart)

We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies recounts a Tibetan family's struggle to create new lives of dignity, love and hope after China's invasion of Tibet in the 1950s. Readers follow sisters Lhamo and Tenkyi on a multi-decade journey through exile, from a harrowing trek across the Himalayas to a refugee camp on the border of Nepal. 

Decades later, the sisters are separated. Tenyki lives in Toronto with Lhamo's daughter Dolma, who has to decide if it's worth risking her dreams to help her community. 

Tsering Yangzom Lama is a Tibetan Canadian author based in Vancouver. Born and raised in Nepal, she's also lived in Toronto and New York City. Lama holds a BA in creative writing and international relations from the University of British Columbia and a MFA from Columbia University. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications, including the Globe and Mail, The Malahat Review and Grain. We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies is her debut novel. Lama was named a writer to watch by CBC Books in 2022.

Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson

Mouth to Mouth is a book by Antoine Wilson. (Avid Reader Press)

Mouth to Mouth is a novel that explores themes of money, fate and morality through the eyes of an art dealer who confesses the real story behind his success. In a first-class lounge at JFK airport, the book's narrator listens as a former classmate he vaguely remembers shares the story of his adult life — a life that forever changed course when he saved a man from drowning.

Antoine Wilson is a Canadian American novelist, editor and short story writer born in Montreal and based in California. Wilson's work has appeared in The Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, Best New American Voices, and the Los Angeles Times. His novels include Panorama City and The Interloper. Mouth to Mouth, his third novel, was on the former U.S. president Barack Obama's summer reading list of his favourite books of 2022.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now