Books

Check out the Scotiabank Giller Prize monthly book club — featuring authors from the 2021 longlist

This year's edition of the Giller Book Club will feature authors on the 2021 longlist in conversation with notable writers, critics, past jury members and academics.

The 2022 edition of the Giller Book Club will run from January until the end of June

The line-up for the 2022 Giller Book Club. (The Giller Foundation)

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is continuing its monthly book club series in 2022. 

This year's edition of the Giller Book Club will run from January until the end of June. There will be eleven interviews with approximately two book clubs per month. The program will feature the authors on the 2021 longlist in conversation with notable writers, critics, past jury members and academics. The interviews will be streamed live. 

You can find out more and register at the Scotiabank Giller Prize website. You can see when future book clubs are happening below.

What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

What Strange Paradise is a novel that tells the story of a global refugee crisis through the eyes of a child. Nine-year-old Amir is the only survivor from a ship full of refugees coming to a small island nation. He ends up with a teenage girl named Vanna, who lives on the island. Even though they don't share a common language or culture, Vanna becomes determined to keep Amir safe. What Strange Paradise tells both their stories and how they each reached this moment, while asking the questions, "How did we get here?" and "What are we going to do about it?"

What Strange Paradise won the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Omar El Akkad is a Canadian journalist and author who currently lives in Portland. He is also the author of the novel American War, which was defended on Canada Reads 2018 by actor Tahmoh Penikett.

Glorious Frazzled Beings by Angélique Lalonde

In the short story collection Glorious Frazzled Beings, human and more-than-human worlds come together in places we call home. Among other tales, a ghost tends to the family garden, a shape-shifting mother deals with the complexities of love when one son is born with beautiful fox ears and another is not and a daughter tries to make sense of her dating profile after her mom dies. 

Angélique Lalonde is a B.C.-based writer whose work has been featured in PRISM International, the Journey Prize Anthology, Room and the Malahat Review, among other publications. She received the 2019 Writers' Trust Journey Prize and was nominated for a National Magazine Award. She was awarded an emerging writer's residency at the Banff Centre. She lives in Northern B.C. and holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Victoria.

The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

The Son of the House is the story of two Nigerian women, the housemaid Nwabulu and the wealthy Julie. The two live very different lives, but when both are kidnapped and forced to spend days together in a dark, tiny room, they keep hope alive by sharing stories and discovering common ground.

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia is a lawyer, academic and writer who divides her time between Lagos and Halifax. The Son of the House is her first novel. It won the SprinNG Women Authors Prize in 2020.

The Listeners by Jordan Tannahill

In the novel The Listeners, Claire Devon is one of a disparate group of people who can hear a low hum. No one in her house can hear it, and this sound has no obvious source or medical cause, but it starts upsetting the balance of Claire's life. She strikes up a friendship with one of her students who can also hear the hum. Feeling more and more isolated from their families and colleagues, they join a neighbourhood self-help group of people who can also hear the hum, which gradually transforms into something much more extreme, with far-reaching and devastating consequences. 

Tannahill is a playwright, filmmaker, author and theatre director. He has twice won the Governor General's Literary Award for drama: in 2014 for Age of Minority and in 2018 for Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom. He is also the author of the novel Liminal.

The Strangers by Katherena Vermette

In The Strangers, readers are brought into the dynamic world of the Stranger family, the shared pain of their past and the light that shines from the horizon. After spending time in foster homes, Cedar goes to live with her estranged father. Being separated from her mother, Elsie, and her sister, Phoenix, is painful, but she's hoping for a new chapter in life. The three women diverge, reconnect and fight to survive in a system that expects them to fail.

Vermette is a Red River Métis writer from Winnipeg. Her debut poetry collection, North End Love Songs, won the 2013 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. Her first novel, The Break, won the Amazon First Novel Award, Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Prize and McNally Robinson Book of the Year. It was championed on Canada Reads 2017 by comedian and broadcaster Candy Palmater. Vermette's other works include the poetry book river woman and the graphic novel series A Girl Called EchoThe Strangers won the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

Em by Kim Thúy, translated by Sheila Fischman

Em follows the story of a young boy named Louis, the child of an American soldier, who takes care of an abandoned baby. Louis calls the baby em Hồng, em meaning "little sister" or "beloved." Although Louis lives on the streets of Saigon and holds the baby in a cardboard box, em Hồng's life opens a realm of possibilities. The novel is inspired by historical events, including Operation Babylift, which evacuated thousands of orphans from Saigon in April 1975. 

Born in Saigon, Kim Thúy left Vietnam in a boat at 10 years old and settled with her family in Quebec. Her other novels include ViMan and RuRu won the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language fiction and was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2002. It also won Canada Reads 2015, when it was championed by Cameron Bailey. Her books have been translated into 29 languages and are available in 40 countries and territories. 

A Dream of a Woman by Casey Plett

A Dream of a Woman is a collection of short stories revolving around transgender women who are looking for stable, adult lives. Taking place in Prairie high-rises and New York warehouses, during freezing Canadian winters and drizzly Oregon days, these stories explore partnership, sex, addiction, romance, groundedness and love.

Casey Plett is a Windsor-based writer who was born in Manitoba and has lived in Oregon and New York. Her novel Little Fish won the Lambda Literary Award, Amazon First Novel Award and the Firecracker Award for Fiction. Her first collection of short stories, A Safe Girl to Love, was published in 2014.

The Octopus Has Three Hearts by Rachel Rose

From a goat farmer to a suburban adulterer, a violent child to a polyamorous marine biologist, the diverse characters in Rachel Rose's The Octopus Has Three Hearts have little in common except a life-sustaining connection to the animal world. The octopus, dogs, pigs, chameleons, bats, parrots, rats and sugar gliders in their lives extend a measure of compassion and solace that their human communities lack.

Rose is the author of four poetry collections and a memoir called The Dog Lover Unit. She is the poet laureate emerita of Vancouver and a poetry editor at Cascadia Magaz.

Swimming Back to Trout River by Linda Rui Feng

In Swimming Back to Trout River, Junie is a 10-year-old living in a village in China with her grandparents. Her parents left for America several years before. Her father has written her a letter saying that he will come back to get her before she turns 12. But Junie doesn't want to go and she doesn't know how much her parents have changed. They have broken up, and are dealing with trauma from their past. But Junie's father is determined to make things right, and make sure Junie's future is brighter than his ever was.

Swimming Back to Trout River was on the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.

Linda Rui Feng is an academic and writer, who is currently a professor of Chinese cultural history at the University of Toronto. Swimming Back to Trout River is her first novel.

We, Jane by Aimee Wall

We, Jane is about a young woman named Marthe, who ends up befriending an older woman while living in Montreal. She learns about how the woman used to help young women in rural Newfoundland get abortions, and the two return to the island to continue this cause. But over time, things become more difficult, and more complicated, than Marthe ever imagined.

Aimee Wall is a writer and translator from Newfoundland who now lives in Montreal. Her translations include Vickie Gendreau's novels Testament and Drama Queens. We, Jane is her first novel.

Astra by Cedar Bowers

Born and raised on a remote British Columbia commune, Astra Brine has long struggled to find her way in the world. As her path intersects with others over the years, she uncovers difficult truths about who they are and what they yearn for. Astra explores what we're willing to give and receive from others — and how well we ever really know the people we love the most. It reminds us of the profound impact that a woman can have on those around her and the power struggles at play in all our relationships. 

Bowers is a B.C.-based author. Her fiction has been published in Joyland and Taddle Creek. Astra is her first novel. Bowers divides her time between Victoria and Galiano Island.

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