Books

André Alexis, Michael Crummey shortlisted for $50K Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

The award is given annually to the best work of Canadian fiction. The other three finalists are Alix Ohlin, Sharon Butala and Téa Mutonji.
André Alexis and Michael Crummey are finalists for the 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Prize for fiction. (Hannah Zoe Davison, Arielle Hogan)

André Alexis's Days by Moonlight is among five books nominated for the 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, an annual $50,000 award given to the year's best work of Canadian fiction.

He previously won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2015 for Fifteen Dogs

Michael Crummey's novel The Innocents is also shortlisted, along with Alix Ohlin's novel Dual Citizens.

All three novels are also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Rounding out the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize shortlist are two short story collections: veteran writer Sharon Butala's Season of Fury and Wonder and Téa Mutonji's debut Shut Up You're Pretty.

The winner will be announced at the Writers' Trust Awards ceremony in Toronto on Nov. 5, 2019.

This year's jury is comprised of Dennis Bock, Michael Kaan and Suzette Mayr.

Kathy Page won the prize in 2018 for the novel Dear Evelyn.

Other past winners include David Chariandy for Brother and Miriam Toews for All My Puny Sorrows.

Keep reading to learn more about each of the finalists.

Days by Moonlight by André Alexis

Days by Moonlight is a novel by André Alexis. (Coach House Books)

In Days by Moonlightbotanist Alfred Homer agrees to go on a research road trip with Professor Morgan Bruno, an old friend of Alfred's deceased parents. As the sun sets, the two depart in search of an obscure, possibly dead poet named John Skennen and encounter a host of oddities in the gothic underworld of southern Ontario. 

Days by Moonlight is the fourth book in Alexis's acclaimed quincunx, which includes Fifteen DogsFifteen Dogs won Canada Reads 2017 and the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Season of Fury and Wonder by Sharon Butala

Season of Fury and Wonder is a short story collection by Sharon Butala. (Coteau Books)

Described by publisher Coteau Books as "cronelit," Season of Fury and Wonder tells the stories of contemporary women in the winter of their lives. Each story is inspired by or is a tribute to a short story by literature's most celebrated writers, including Flannery O'Conner, Shirley Jackson, Anton Chekhov and Raymond Carver.

Butala is the author of 20 books. She has been nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award three times — in 1985 for the short fiction collection Queen of the Headaches, in 1994 for nonfiction workThe Perfection of the Morning and in 2017 for the memoir Where I Live Now.

The Innocents by Michael Crummey

Michael Crummey's new book is called The Innocents. (Doubleday Canada, Holly Hogan)

In The Innocents, a young brother and sister live in isolation in Newfoundland, surviving alone on the bits of knowledge their parents left behind. Their loyalty to one another is the reason they are able to persist through storms and illness, but their relationship is tested as they grow older.

Crummey was previously a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2005 for The Wreckage. The Newfoundland writer's other books include Sweetland and Galore.

Shut Up You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji

Shut Up You're Pretty is a book by Téa Mutonji. (Arsenal Pulp Press, Sandro Pehar)

Shut Up You're Pretty is a short fiction collection that tells stories of young women coming of age in the 21st century. Mutonji's characters include a young woman who shaves her head in an abortion clinic waiting room, a mother and daughter who bond over fish and a teenager seeking happiness with her pack of cigarettes.

Shut Up You're Pretty  is Mutonji's first book.

Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin

Dual Citizens is a novel by Alix Ohlin. (House of Anansi Press)

In Dual Citizens, Lark Brossard is a supporting character in the lives of her artistically talented loved ones: her sister Robin is a wild and brilliant pianist, while her sometime lover Lawrence is a famous filmmaker. When Lawrence tells her he doesn't want children, Lark re-examines her life and takes control of her story.

Ohlin was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2012 for her novel InsideShe is the chair of the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.

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