Miriam Toews, Kim Thuy, Omar El Akkad among 12 writers on 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize long list


“I wish I could be with all of you in person in some way,” Giller first nominee Casey Plett said in an email exchange following the announcement of the long list of the Scotiabank Giller Award on Wednesday. direct.

Yet the virtual excitement was contagious when Toronto writer Souvankham Thammavongsa, who won the Giller Prize last year, announced the 12 nominees, drawn from the 132 “literary works” the jury read.

“This extraordinary dozen presents an ecstatic diversity of voices and styles of narrative unfolding and moral urgency, formal innovation and old-fashioned storytelling fun,” the jury – Canadian writers Zalika Reid-Benta, Megan Taipei-born Tash Aw writer Gail Coles and Joshua Whitehead and American writer Joshua Ferris – said in a statement.

Or, as Plett put it, “It’s such a humble and beautiful company to be a part of, I’m extremely grateful.

Plett was one of 10 women who dominate the list, including powerful writers Miriam Toews and Kim Thuy, with Omar El Akkad and Jordan Tannahill the only two men.

Cedar Bowers, author of "Astra," by McClelland & Stewart

Otherwise, the books and authors were a combination of newbie, mid-career, and veteran writers, short stories and novels, freelance publishers, and big names. They are:

Miriam Toews' latest book to make Giller's long list is

“The Listeners” by Jordan Tannahill (HarperCollins)

Casey Plett, author of

Ottawa-born Tannahill’s second novel, based on the real-life phenomenon dubbed “The Buzz”, is described by the Star’s reviewer as “enigmatic and provocative.” “‘The Listeners’ is likely to stretch and distort its readers’ own perspectives, like a funny mirror for our time.” Her first novel, “Liminal”, won Canadian and international awards. This is Tannahill’s first appearance on a Giller list.

Kim Thy is a Vietnamese-Canadian novelist, food columnist, cookbook author and former restaurateur.

“Astra” by Cedar Bowers (McClelland & Stewart)

Katherena Vermette, author of "The foreigners."

The Star reviewer called BC writer Bowers’ debut novel “a feat of character building” thanks in part to an innovative structure, with 10 different characters each giving their take on Astra.

Omar El Akkad, author of "What a strange paradise," McClelland & Stewart

“Fight Night” by Miriam Toews (Knopf)

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, author of "The son of the house"

Winnipeg and Toronto writer Toews has already been on Giller’s long list twice: as a finalist for her 2014 novel “All My Puny Sorrows” and for “A Complicated Kindness,” published in 2004. This new book is a return to the themes of the family. , drawing on her own rich experience, which she told The Star, “I wanted to write something that wouldn’t back down from the dark side of a person’s life… and I wanted to write about this idea of ​​fighting and the idea that joy is resistance.

Angélique Lalonde, author of "Glorious exhausted beings"

“A Woman’s Dream” by Casey Plett (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Rachel Rose, author of "The octopus has three hearts," (Douglas and McIntyre)

Founder of the feminist LittlePuss Press, Winnipeg-born writer Plett’s collection, due out September 21, is described in The Star as “tender, beautifully written new stories… about trans women making their own way.” Her book “Little Fish” won the 2019 Lambda Prize for Transgender Fiction. It’s Plett’s first nod to Giller.

Linda Rui Feng, author of "Swim to Trout River," Simon & Schuster

“Em” by Kim Thuy (Random House Canada)

Aimée Wall, author of "We, Jeanne," Book * kiss Aimee Wall at the Mile End studio

The Montreal author has been nominated for Gillers twice, in 2012 for “Ru” and 2018 for “Vi”, both translated from French by legendary translator Sheila Fischman, just like this one. “Em,” not yet released (published Sept. 28), is set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.

“The Strangers” by Katherena Vermette (Hamish Hamilton)

Vermette, a Métis writer from the Red River born in Winnipeg, won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award for her debut album, “The Break.” “The Strangers,” which releases September 28, is touted by its publisher as a family saga, as is “The Break,” with a story centered on the women of the Stranger family, “who fight to survive in a fractured system. who claims to offer success but expects them to fail.

“What Stranger Paradise” by Omar El Akkad (McClelland & Stewart)

El Akkad’s second novel examines the refugee experience. Our reviewer said it “achieves what is believed to be El Akkad’s goal – to deepen our engagement with the world around us and with the stories of others.” It’s Giller’s first nod to the Egyptian-born writer, who moved to Canada as a teenager and now lives in the United States.

“The Son of the House” by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia (Dundurn Press)

This debut novel is an exploration of class and inequality, in a story told by two very different Nigerian women who are kidnapped and held captive; their stories unfold as they await their fate. Lawyer Onyemelukwe-Onuobia divides her time between Lagos and Halifax, where she works in the areas of health, gender and violence against women and children. “The Son of the House” won the award for the best international fiction book at the Sharjah International Book Fair in 2019.

“Glorious Frazzled Beings” by Angélique Lalonde (Maison d’Anansi)

Another early collection of short stories; Lalonde, who lives in Gitxsan Territory, won the 2019 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, which recognizes the best short story by an emerging writer, for “Pooka”, which you will find in this book.

“The octopus has three hearts” by Rachel Rose (Douglas & McIntyre)

British Columbia veteran writer Rose has been nominated and won numerous awards for her poetry; this volume of short stories, “about injured people who have committed, witnessed or survived terrible acts, and who must make their way in a ruthless world”, according to its publisher, is his first book of fiction.

“Swimming to the Trout River” by Linda Rui Feng (Simon & Schuster)

Rui Feng was born in Shanghai and now lives in Toronto; his first novel is set against the backdrop of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and follows a father’s quest to reunite his family.

“We, Jane” by Aimee Wall, (Book * hug)

This is Wall’s first novel, although the Newfoundland native who now lives in Montreal has published numerous essays, short stories and reviews, and translated novels. Its editors say that “We, Jane” “probes the importance of women’s caregiving to women … and beautifully captures the inevitable heartbreak of understanding home.”

The Giller Prize shortlist will be announced on October 5, while the winner will be announced on CBC on Monday, November 8 at 9 p.m. ET.


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