Category Archives: Can Lit Giller Prize

There’s Nothing Short About the 2014 Giller Shortlist


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

Today is an important day for those who actively belong and participate in the Canadian literary world, especially for those who submitted their work for consideration of the highly coveted and prestigious literary prize for Canadian fiction—The Scotiabank Giller Prize—especially this year.

With an increase to the financial winnings—yes, a whopping $100,000 instead of last year’s $50,000—authors this year are vying for double the money through the prize that Jack Rabinovitch created in 1994 to honour his late wife, literary editor, Doris Giller, which boasts the title of Canada’s top literary fiction prize.

Anyone who is anyone in the publishing world knows that if you make it onto the Giller Longlist, you’ve already won reputable standing — one of distinction and one of opportunity.

But, to snag a spot on the Shortlist is to bid for the biggest accolade and jackpot in Canadian fiction. Canadian stories aren’t just stories anymore, but a testament to Canada’s cultural voice through literature. What it says is honoured each and every year, featuring some of Canada’s finest literary talent.

This year, Canadian author Shauna Singh Baldwin, British novelist Justin Cartwright, and American writer and critic Francine Prose, were the writers specifically chosen to sit on the Giller Prize jury, which had the difficult, but rewarding job of reading though a number of novel submissions—to first choose the Longlist that was announced in mid-September and then to cut the list down by half, which was announced today.

Here are the six finalists:

David Bezmozgis for his novel, The Betrayers, published by HarperCollins Canada:


Frances Itani for her book, Tell, published by HarperCollins Canada:


Sean Michaels for his novel, Us Conductors, published by Random House Canada:

us conductors ***

Heather O’Neill for her novel, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, published by HarperCollins Canada:

girl who was saturday night***

Miriam Toews for her novel, All My Puny Sorrows, published by Knopf Canada:

all my puny sorrows***

Padma Viswanathan for her book, The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, published by Random House Canada:

ever after of ashwin rao***

Congratulations to all the finalists!

The Scotiabank Giller Prize will air on CBC Television on Monday, Nov. 10 at 9 p.m.with host Jian Ghomeshi of CBC Radio’s Q.


Have you read any of the books that made it onto the Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist?

Did the books you were expecting to make it on the list actually make it?

Who do you think will win this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize?

If you were to win the Giller Prize, what would you do with $100,000?


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Crazy for CanLit 2014: If They Were Children’s Books


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis / @zara.tokiniha

If I was a kid, what would this year’s potential Giller Prize books look like? Based on the ones listed on the Crazy for CanLit Pinterest Board, these are what I would change the titles to if the books were for children—because I’m a kid like that. (You have my children to thank, for constantly coercing me to play Tag, Hide ‘n Seek, Rock, Paper & Scissors, and LEGO on a regular basis.)

Ready, kiddies? Let’s play!

ellen in LEGO pieces***

A is for andre alexis


what does pastoral mean


i don't know how to behave bc im just a kid***

the boy in spanish is el nino***

teddy bear***

fallsy downsies we all fall down***

all the broken things are my fault***

watch how we walk funny***

canadas wonderland***

juliet was a kinder surprise***

 answer to everything is aww do i have to***

tiny wife fits in my dollhouse***


walt disney***

How would you change some of the potential Giller Prize books’ titles if you were a kid?

Which is your favourite title change from the list I created above?


zara - tokidoki glow

Crazy for CanLit 2014: My Book Cover Poem


By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis

I’m Canadian. And while I’m not necessarily crazy, I am absolutely mad for Canadian Literature—and the annual Scotiabank Giller Prize festivities that honour the best in Canadian fiction.

Which brings me to this book cover list. While I’m keen on making lists in of themselves for almost everything I do (Post-It notes are my go-to organizational tool), the CanLit book covers eligible for this year’s Giller Prize have inspired me to create a poem made entirely of its book titles. While I didn’t use every book on the list, I was pretty close.

Let me know what you think of my “book cover” poem that reads from left to right:

can lit poem verse 1For today I am a boy

shallow enough to walk through


can lit poem verse 2The world before us

just beneath my skin

between clay and dust:

can lit poem verse 3frog music, wonder—

all the broken things.

 can lit poem verse 4The road narrows as you go,

the breaking words,

the filthy few,

moving forward sideways like a crab.

can lit poem verse 5The eye of the day,

the opening sky,

the freedom in American songs…

can lit poem verse 6all my puny sorrows


the hole in the middle,

I’m not scared of you or anything.

van lit poem verse 7The river burns

sweet life,


wild justice.

can lit poem verse 8I don’t know how to behave


where the air is sweet:

can lit poem verse 9sweet affliction,

the age,

a sudden sun.

can lit poem verse 10When is a man,


The cuckoo’s child

can lit poem verse 11up in smoke,

the fledglings’

fire in the unnameable country,

can lit poem verse 12little bastards in springtime


can lit poem verse 13The answer to everything:

American innovations,


can lit poem verse 14prairie ostrich,

the tiny wife,

some extremely boring drives,

can lit poem verse 15all my sins

(Vienna nocturne),

proud flesh,

polyamorous love song.

can lit poem verse 16My October,

mating for life

the girl who was Saturday night

can lit poem verse 17will

a second chance—

my suicide.

can lit poem verse 18

Whatever Lola wants:

the afterlife of stars,

the location of unknown possibilities,

blood on a saint,

can lit poem verse 19I’m not scared of you or anything

Planet Lolita.

can lit poem verse 20Tell the broken hours,

the ghosts of Smyrna:

can lit poem verse 21the wind is not a river

based on a true story;

the wind is not a river

up in smoke.

can lit poem verse 22Watch how we walk

the incomparables—

how does a single blade of grass thank the sunHow does a single blade of grass

thank the sun?


What kind of thematic list can you create from the list of Can Lit books eligible for the prestigious Giller Prize?


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