On Monday, the Scotiabank Giller Prize was aired on CBC. If you don’t know what this award is about, here’s the prize history from the official webpage:
The Giller Prize was founded in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, who passed away from cancer the year before. The award recognized excellence in Canadian fiction – long format or short stories – and endowed a cash prize annually of $25,000.00, the largest purse for literature in the country.
The launch of The Giller Prize coincided with a growing recognition of Canadian authors and literature both at home and abroad. Acclaimed writers such as Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Mordecai Richler were winning honours and accolades around the world. The time seemed ripe to celebrate the success of these and other homegrown writers within these borders, with a bold statement of support and recognition.
The Giller Prize, along with many other awards that came before and after, is in part responsible for the continued growth of Canadian literary talent. The prize has so far endowed more than three-quarters of a million dollars to Canadian writers from coast to coast.
The thing that I love about this award is that it’s awarded to Canadian authors only, which is a great way to find new authors and discover new talent in this country. The award show was great, too, because it featured so many of my favourite Canadian authors (including Lawrence Hill and Rupi Kaur), as well as other Canadian personalities who have become fixtures on our TVs.
This was the first book award show I’ve ever watched; in the past, I’ve heard of the Giller Prize winners via Twitter or other social media, but I always thought I would never be interested in watching the show. But I was so wrong because it was so much fun to watch! I watched it through the livestream on the CBC webpage (since my kids and husband had the TV) and I loved the bits of CBC radio filler during commercial breaks, which made me want to listen to more bookish radio programs. I also loved that the whole show was like the Oscars but for Canadian books!
In case you’re living under a rock, the winner of the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize was Bellevue Square by Michael Redhill:
I know some people were disappointed, thinking that Eden Robinson should have won for her book, Son of a Trickster, but since I hadn’t read ANY of the nominated books (from the long- or short-list), I spent a lot of the past week looking through the books that were nominated for the 2017 award, and also books that had been on the short-list in previous years. Needless to say, I’ll be picking up the winning title and the rest of the short-list – and I already have three others from the long-list on my reading list!
Here are some of the other Giller Prize awarded and short-listed books that I’ll be reading in the near future – let me know if you’ve read any of them!
In a related note, I used to own four of these titles but got rid of them in various book purges, back when I was reading a lot of YA, thinking that I wouldn’t be interested in them again – now I’m definitely mad at myself! Oh well, I guess another excuse to either buy or rent from the library to support the author?
I’m definitely excited to actually read the Giller Prize nominated books in the future – and I’m looking forward to CBC reads in the spring, too!
What have been your favourite Giller Prize awarded books? Do you have any recommendations? What other awards do you follow?