Giller Prize Shortlist: Canada’s Finest

by Marylee MacDonald in General

If you’ve ever gone to Stratford (Ontario) for the Shakespeare Festival, crossed the border to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side, or taken the ferry to British Columbia, you’ve no doubt visited a Canadian bookstore and noticed prominent displays that feature Canadian authors, not just those writing in English, but the Canadians writing in modern French and those writing in the Acadian dialect. Names you might recognize immediately include Mavis Gallant, Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Yann Martel, Lawrence Hill, and Michael Ondaatje. There are too many to name, as is evident on Goodreads‘ seventy odd pages of book covers.

Montreal author Heather O’Neill is one of five finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, becoming the first writer shortlisted for Canada’s most prestigious literary prize in consecutive years. The nominees for the $100,000 prize – a welcome mix of short fiction, work-in-translation and books from the country’s small-press community […]

Canada Is Made Up Of Many Literary Communities

What has always astonished me about Canada is that the government supports literary endeavors, from readings to literary magazines. Each province, too, supports its writers. Thus, you’ll find a list of Quebecois writers separated from the Acadian writers. Some years ago, I happened to attend a conference on Canadian and American cross-border culture. The amazing writer, Antonine Maillet, talked about the importance of the Acadian language as being the language of Rabelais. That dialect of French–old, old French–has its own literature, and the dialect is not just spoken in the Maritime Provinces, but also in parts of Louisiana and Georgia–Cajun. I’m going to celebrate the Giller Prize and honor the diversity of Canadian literature by buying these authors’ books and discovering my own favorites.


  • Marylee MacDonald

    Marylee MacDonald is the author of MONTPELIER TOMORROW, BONDS OF LOVE & BLOOD, BODY LANGUAGE, and THE BIG BOOK OF SMALL PRESSES AND INDEPENDENT PUBLISHERS. Her books and stories have won the Barry Hannah Prize, the Jeanne M. Leiby Memorial Chapbook Award, a Readers' Favorites Gold Medal for Drama, the American Literary Review Fiction Prize, a Wishing Shelf Book Award, and many others. She holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State, and when not reading or writing books, she loves to walk on the beach and explore National Parks.

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