Missing From the Village by Justin Ling among six books shortlisted for $10K Toronto Book Awards

The shortlist also includes books by Catherine Hernandez, Rinaldo Walcott, Kim Echlin, Catherine Graham and Faye Guenther. Established in 1974, the annual prize honours books inspired by Toronto. 
Missing from the Village is a book by Justin Ling. (McClelland & Stewart, CBC)

Six titles, including Missing From the Village, have been shortlisted for the 2021 Toronto Book Awards.

Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the $10,000 prize honours books that are inspired by the city. 

Missing From the Village tells the complete story of the McArthur murders. In 2013, the Toronto Police Service announced that the disappearances of three men from Toronto's gay village were potentially linked. Based on Ling's more than five years of in-depth reporting, this is a story of police failure and the latent homophobia and racism that kept this case unsolved and unseen.

Ling is an investigative journalist from Toronto. He hosted the CBC podcast Uncover: The Village, which is also about his work on the Bruce McArthur case. 

Also on the shortlist is Crosshairs, Catherine Hernandez's sophomore novel. The novel explores a familiar near-future Toronto, where massive floods lead to rampant homelessness and devastation and a government-sanctioned regime seizes the opportunity to force marginalized communities into labour camps.

Hernandez is a former theatre professional and daycare provider from Scarborough, Ont. She is also the author of the novel Scarborough, which is being adapted into a feature film.

Catherine Graham's book-length lyric essay Æther: An Out-of-Body Lyric is another finalist. Graham's book pays homage to family, to cancer and to the strange windings of truth. Swimming through time and space, Graham introduces her mother, her father and herself and the cancers that pull them apart and bring them together.

Graham is also the author of the novel Quarry and poetry collection The Celery Forest.

On Property by Rinaldo Walcott has also been shortlisted. Walcott's nonfiction book examines the relationship between policing and property, and explores the long shadow cast by slavery's afterlife. It shows how present-day abolitionists continue the work of their forebears to ensure freedom and equality for all.

Walcott is a professor at the University of Toronto, where he is the director of women and gender studies and teaches at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

Kim Echlin is shortlisted for her novel Speak, Silence. The book follows a character called Gota as she attempts to reconnect with her ex-lover Kosmos, but ends up forging an unexpected bond with his new partner, Edin. It weaves together the experiences of a resilient sisterhood and tells the story of the real-life trial that would shape history.

Echlin is a past Giller Prize finalist who lives in Toronto. Her other novels include Elephant Winter, Dagmar's Daughter, The Disappeared and Under the Visible Life.

Rounding out the shortlist this year is Swimmers in Winter, Faye Guenther's first collection of short fiction. Swimmers in Winter swirls between real and imagined pasts and futures to delve into our present cultural moment, such as the life for queer women in Toronto during WWII and after, and the impact of gentrification on public space. 

Guenther lives in Toronto. Her writing has appeared in literary magazines including Joyland and she has published a chapbook, Flood Lands.

The winner will be announced in the fall.

Each remaining shortlisted finalist will receive $1,000.

The jury is made up of Geoffrey E. Taylor, Christine Miskonoodinkwe Smith, Andy Stanleigh, Angela Wright and Sanchari Sur. 

Last year's winner was The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole.

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