The Next Chapter

Eric Dupont recalls the moment he learned he was a Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist

The Montreal author's novel Songs for the Cold of Heart is up for the richest prize in Canadian literature.
Songs for the Cold of Heart is a novel by Eric Dupont, translated by Peter McCambridge. (Sarah Scott/QC Fiction)

Montreal author Eric Dupont is one of five authors — the others being Esi Edugyan, Patrick deWitt, Thea Lim and Sheila Heti — up for the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2018.

The Montreal author of Songs for the Cold of Heart  gathered with his fellow finalists recently on stage at Calgary's Wordfest for a special Scotiabank Giller Prize panel, hosted by The Next Chapter's Shelagh Rogers.

The phone call that changed everything

"To learn I was on the shortlist was, in a word, thrilling. I'm still stunned. I initially found out about it by a phone call from my translator Peter McCambridge. I was sleeping at the time, so I was wondering why he was calling me so early and why he was talking so fast given that he's a very soft-spoken person. And in the salad of words that he was belching out, I heard the word Giller — and that's how I found out!"

Why he writes

"I wrote Songs for the Cold of Heart because I come from a family of storytellers and I don't have my own children to tell stories to. When I was writing the book I was thinking a lot about my nieces and nephews. I have a story to tell and the need to play the role of the storyteller."

Eric Dupont's comments have been edited for length and clarity.​

The 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists

The winner will be announced on Nov. 19, 2018. Here's how you can tune into the broadcast.