Ondaatje among Canadians vying for Commonwealth Writers' Prize
Michael Ondaatje, Frances Itani and Lawrence Hill are among the Canadians competing on the regional short lists for the 22nd Commonwealth Writers' Prize, organizers announced on Wednesday.
Ondaatje was singled out in the category for best book from Canada and the Caribbean region for his latest novel Divisadero, which picked up the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction last year.
Itani made the cut for her Remembering the Bones and Hill for The Book of Negroes, with Jamaica's Erna Brodber (The Rainmaker's Mistake) and Canadian authors Gil Adamson (The Outlander) and Robert Hough (The Culprits) rounding out the category's nominees.
Canadians also dominated the nominees in the region's best first book category:
- David Chariandy for Soucouyant.
- Tish Cohen for Town House.
- Arley McNeney for Post.
- Ameen Merchant for The Silent Raga.
- C.S. Richardson for The End of the Alphabet.
- Neil Smith for Bang Crunch.
Other notable selections on the various regional shortlists include:
- Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (nominated for best book, Europe and South Asia region).
- Hari Kunzru, My Revolutions (nominated for best book, Europe and South Asia region).
- Indra Sinha, Animal's People (nominated for best book, Europe and South Asia region).
- Catherine O'Flynn, What Was Lost (nominated for best first book, Europe and South Asia region).
- Alex Miller, Landscape of Farewell (nominated for best book, Southeast Asia and South Pacific region).
The regional winners, each set to receive £1,000 ($1,960), will be announced March 13.
These winners will then serve as the finalists for the overall 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prizes for best book and best first book, worth £10,000 and £5,000 ($19,600 and $9,800) respectively.
The regional winners will be invited to attend and participate in events at the Franschhoek Literary Festival in South Africa in May, with the overall winners to be announced during the festival.
Established in 1987, the prize honours outstanding literary writing throughout the Commonwealth nations.