Five Authors With U of G Ties Part of 2016 Giller Prize

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Five authors involved in the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Canadian fiction have ties to the University of Guelph.

GillerFour of the authors on the shortlist announced today have U of G connections, and the jury for the prize — viewed as Canada’s top literary award — is chaired by U of G Prof. Lawrence Hill.

Zoe Whittall, a graduate of Guelph’s MFA program in creative writing, made the list for her novel The Best Kind of People, published by House of Anansi Press Inc.

Earlier, the South Durham, Quebec-born novelist won the Lambda Literary Award-winning for Holding Still For As Long As Possible. Her novel Bottle Rocket Hearts was named the Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year and made CBC’s Canada Reads Top Ten Essential Novels for the decade.

Also shortlisted is The Party Wall by Catherine Leroux, first published in French and subsequently selected for English-language translation by  U of G Prof. Stephen Henighan, School of Languages and Literatures. The novel was published in the Biblioasis International Translation Series, for which Henighan is general editor. Last year, he selected for English translation Samuel Archibald’s short story collection Arvida, which made the 2015 Giller shortlist.

Novelist and short story writer Madeleine Thien made the Giller shortlist for Do Not Say We Have Nothing, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada. Born in Vancouver, she was U of G’s writer-in-residence in fall 2014. Her earlier novel, Dogs at the Perimeter, won the Frankfurt Book Fair’s 2015 LiBeraturpreis.

Emma Donoghue, a former distinguished visitor with the MFA in creative writing program, was shortlisted for The Wonder, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Hill, who joined U of G last July as a creative writing professor in the College of Arts, is chairing the jury for the 2016 prize.  He has written 10 books of fiction and non-fiction, including the award-winning The Book of Negroes and The Illegal, which won CBC’s Canada Reads 2016. Hill was invested into the Order of Canada Sept. 23.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize, honouring the late literary journalist Doris Giller, recognizes the best in Canadian fiction (novel or short story collection, published in English) annually. Finalists receive $10,000 each, while the winner is awarded $100,000.