Esi Edugyan, Patrick deWitt, Tanya Tagaq among 12 authors longlisted for 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize
Esi Edugyan's Washington Black, Patrick deWitt's French Exit and musician Tanya Tagaq's Split Tooth are among the dozen titles longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize, an annual $100,000 award that recognizes the best in Canadian fiction.
The 12 longlisted books, comprised of two short story collections and 10 novels, were chosen from 104 titles submitted by publishers across the country. The longlist includes two works in translation and three debut books.
Here is the full 2018 longlist:
- Zolitude by Paige Cooper
- French Exit by Patrick deWitt
- Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont, translated by Peter McCambridge
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
- Beirut Hellfire Society by Rawi Hage
- Motherhood by Sheila Heti
- Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
- An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
- Something for Everyone by Lisa Moore
- Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
- Vi by Kim Thúy, translated Sheila Fischman
- Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
The shortlist will be revealed on Oct. 1, followed by the winner on Nov. 19.
Keep reading to learn more about each of the longlisted books.
Mixing the contemporary with the surreal, Paige Cooper ties her debut collection of short fiction together with the overarching theme of love. Her book tells stories of Russian spies, monstrous creatures and nine-year-old girls who build time machines. Originally from the Rocky Mountains, Cooper now lives in Montreal and has been published in literary magazines like the Fiddlehead and Briar Patch.
Patrick deWitt's tragicomic novel looks at the fates of Frances Price and her son Malcolm, who live in aristocratic elegance in New York. When the vast fortune accumulated by the Price's late family patriarch runs out, the pair head to Paris with their cat Small Frank, whom Frances believes is her dead husband. deWitt, a novelist in Portland, Ore. by way of Vancouver Island, was previously shortlisted for the prize in 2011 for The Sisters Brothers and longlisted in 2015 for Undermajordomo Minor.
Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont, translated by Peter McCambridge
Billed as a "big fat whopper of a tall tale," Montreal writer Eric Dupont's fourth novel traverses time and space with comedic ease. From Rivière-du-Loup in 1919 to Nagasaki, 1990s Berlin, Rome and beyond, Dupont's winding tale is carried by a cast of idiosyncratic characters as they contend with the worldly events of the last century. Dupont is a former Combat des livres winner, Radio-Canada's version of Canada Reads, for the book La Logeuse.
The titular character of Esi Edugyan's third novel, Washington Black, is an 11-year-old boy known as "Wash," who is enslaved on a Barbados sugar plantation. His master is Englishman Christopher Wilde, who is obsessed with developing a machine that can fly. When a man is killed, Wilde must choose between his family and saving Black's life — and the choice results in an epic adventure around the world for Wash. The novel is also currently longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.
Montreal writer Rawi Hage's novel follows a young man named Pavlov as he takes his deceased father's place in a mysterious group known as the Hellfire Society. Part of their mission is to arrange secret burials for the outcasts of Lebanon — those denied burial because they were gay, atheist or otherwise abandoned. Hage has twice been shortlisted for the Giller Prize — in 2008 for Cockroach and in 2006 for De Niro's Game, the latter of which received the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
The unnamed narrator of Sheila Heti's Motherhood spends the novel preoccupied with a single, pressing question: should she have children? Searching for a satisfying answer, whether it ultimately be 'yes' or 'no,' the narrator consults her partner, her family and her body, breaking down the philosophical underpinnings of motherhood. Heti has written books, including How Should a Person Be?, and lives in Toronto.
It's 1992 and the town of Big Running, N.L., is facing collapse as its biggest resource, cod, abruptly disappears. Residents abandon their homes in search of work, but stalwart 10-year-old Finn Connor is determined to stay in what is increasingly becoming a ghost town. Raised in Alberta, Emma Hooper is a musician and lecturer at Bath Spa University in the U.K. Her first novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James was an international bestseller.
When a deadly flu rips through America, Polly Nader makes a drastic decision in order to save her partner Frank. A company called TimeRaiser agrees to pay for life-saving treatment if Polly time travels 12 years into the future, where she can be reunited with Frank and work as a bonded labourer. But Polly is accidentally sent 17 years into a future where Frank is nowhere to be found. An Ocean of Minutes is Thea Lim's first novel.
Something for Everyone is a collection of stunning short fiction by Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore. With a knack for exploiting the beauty in bleak circumstances, Moore writes of shoe store employees contemplating lust and loss, a middle-aged woman conned out of her life savings and a grief-stricken young woman concerned her neighbour is a serial rapist. Moore has made the Giller Prize shortlist three times previously — for Open in 2002, Alligator in 2005 and Caught in 2013.
Combining memoir with fiction, Tanya Tagaq writes about a young girl's coming of age in 1970s Nunavut. She is a witness to the mythic wonders of the Arctic world, which juxtapose harshly against the violence and alcoholism in her community. Split Tooth is the first book by Tagaq, a Polaris Prize and Juno-winning Inuk singer.
Named after its narrator, Kim Thúy's novel Vi is the story of a young, prosperous family's escape from the Vietnam War. Vi, the youngest of four children, paints loving portraits of those closest to her — her mother, her brothers, a family friend named Ha — and quietly grows into her own as an independent young woman in Quebec. Montreal-based Thúy and translator Sheila Fischman were previously nominated for the Giller Prize in 2012 for their collaboration Ru. Thúy is currently up for The New Prize in Literature.
The titular character of the novel Jonny Appleseed is a self-styled "NDN glitter princess" who works as a cybersex worker in the city. Preparing to head home for his stepfather's funeral, Jonny reflects on his decision to leave his reserve and the life he's led since. Jonny Appleseed is the Peguis First Nation writer's first novel, but he's also the author of the experimental poetry collection full-metal indigiqueer.