Rawi Hage's Carnival in the running for Quebec lit prize

Montreal's Rawi Hage, who blazed onto Canada's literary scene with De Niro's Game in 2008, is nominated for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction for his newest work, Carnival.

Quebec Writers' Federation names shortlisted authors

Rawi Hage has been nominated for the Hugh McLennan Prize for fiction for Carnival. (Writers' Trust)

Montreal’s Rawi Hage, who blazed onto Canada’s literary scene with De Niro’s Game in 2008, is nominated for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction for his newest work, Carnival.

The Quebec Writers’ Federation announced on Wednesday the authors shortlisted for its six annual awards recognizing English-language writing.

Hage previously received the MacLennan Prize, the federation's fiction honour, twice before: for his previous novels Cockroach and De Niro’s Game, which also won the IMPAC Dublin Prize.

He also is nominated for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Carnival, which continues in the gritty vein that made his first two novels so popular. He offers a portrait of an unnamed city as seen through the eyes of a unique narrator — a cabbie named Fly, whose parents were circus performers.

Also nominated for the QWF fiction prize is Anita Rau Badami for her mystery Tell It to the Trees, which probes the secrets of an Indo-Canadian family after the death of a young woman who was the family's tenant. Badami won the Regional Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for her second novel, The Hero’s Walk, and was nominated for both the Orange and IMPAC Dublin Prize.

Taras Grescoe makes the case for investing in transit in Straphanger. (Writers' Trust)

Rounding out the fiction prize contenders is first-time author Tom Abray for his short-story collection Pollen. The collection is also nominated for best first book.

Alix Ohlin, the Montrealer whose debut novel Inside earned nominations for both the Giller Prize and Writers’ Trust fiction award, was left out of the running for the QWF awards.

Taras Grescoe’s Straphanger, a plea for a more sane approach to transit in North America, has earned a nomination for the Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction. It also is vying for the Hilary Weston Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award.

His rivals for the Gallant Prize are:

  • William Marsden, Fools Rule: Inside the Failed Politics of Climate Change (Alfred A. Knopf Canada).
  • Julija Sukys, Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite (University of Nebraska Press).

The QWF awards also honour works of poetry, children's literature, first books and books in translation.

The nominees for the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry:

  • Oana Avasilichioaei, We, Beasts (Wolsak and Wynn Publishers).
  • Mary di Michele, The Flower of Youth (ECW Press).
  • Susan Gillis, The Rapids (Brick Books).

The nominees for the Concordia University First Book Prize:

  • Tom Abray, Pollen (DC Books).
  • Michael Lithgow, Waking in the Treehouse (Cormorant Books).
  • Alice Petersen, All the Voices Cry (Biblioasis).

The nominees for the QWF Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature

  • Catherine Austen, 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6 (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.).
  • Monique Polak, Pyro (Orca Book Publishers).
  • Lori Weber, Yellow Mini (Fitzhenry & Whiteside).

The nominees for the Cole Foundation Prize for Translation (English to French):

  • Éric Fontaine, T’es con, point (Stanké), a translation of You Comma Idiot by Doug Harris.
  • Marie Frankland, Passage de Franklin (Éditions du Noroît), a translation of David Solway’s Franklin’s Passage.
  • Lori Saint-Martin et Paul Gagné, Fall (Éditions du Boréal), a translation of Colin McAdam’s Fall.  

The winners will be announced Nov. 20 in Montreal.