Scotiabank Giller Prize | Shortlist

2009 Giller Prize Shortlist

ABOUT THE 2009 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE FINALISTS

The Disappeared

Kim Echlin
The Disappeared
Hamish HamiltonCanada
Behind the Words

Jury Citation:  
“The Disappeared is an elegiac, beautifully told memory-tale of obsessive love. A teenaged Canadian woman falls in love with a young Cambodian refugee; after the fall of Pol Pot, her lover abandons her and returns home in search of his lost family. She follows him to Cambodia and takes the reader with her into one of the darkest chapters of 20th century history. On one level, the novel is a young Canadian woman’s bildungsroman; on another, a profoundly moving account of the genocidal horrors of the Cambodian killing fields and its terrible aftermath. Written in elegant, spare prose, The Disappeared confronts one of the most painful conflicts of our time; the collision between our private, personal desires and the brutal, dehumanizing facts of modern history.”
Kim Echlin is an author, teacher and documentary writer. She has produced television for the CBC and written for independent producers. She currently teaches at the School for Continuing Studies, University of Toronto. Echlin is the author of several books, notably Elephant Winter, Dagmar’s Daughter and Inanna: From the Myths of Ancient Sumer. The Disappeared is her third novel. Kim Echlin lives in Toronto.

Annabel Lyon
The Golden Mean
Random House Canada
Behind the Words

Jury citation:
“The Golden Mean is, ostensibly, the story of the philosopher, Aristotle, and his pupil, Alexander.  Aristotle has yet to become the director of the Lyceum and his pupil has yet to become Alexander the Great, the conqueror of the known world.  In succinct and detailed prose, Annabel Lyon not only illuminates an historical period but explores issues that are achingly contemporary: the purpose(s) of education, the destinies (and responsibilities) of the gifted, the influence of parents, the jealousies of scholars, the complications of tribalism, the tension between belief and science, and the relative merits of the life of the body versus that of the mind.  The characters, some historical and some fictional, are, in their multitude, kind and noble and petty and vicious; they are recognizable to us all.  This is a wise and thoughtful book.”

Annabel Lyon’s first book, the short story collection Oxygen, was nominated for the Danuta Gleed Award. Her second collection, The Best Thing for You, was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction and the City of Vancouver Book Award. Annabel Lyon lives in New Westminster, BC with her husband and two children.

Linden MacIntyre
The Bishop’s Man
Random House Canada
Behind the Words

Jury citation:
“The Bishop’s Man centres on a sensitive topic - the sexual abuses perpetrated by Catholic priests on the innocent children in their care. Father Duncan, the first person narrator, has been his bishop's dutiful enforcer, employed to check the excesses of priests and, crucially, to suppress the evidence. But as events veer out of control, he is forced into painful self-knowledge as family, community and friendship are torn apart under the strain of suspicion, obsession and guilt. A brave novel, conceived and written with impressive delicacy and understanding.”  

Linden MacIntyre is the co-host of The Fifth Estate, CBC Television’s flagship investigative affairs program. He is the winner of nine Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism. MacIntyre’s most recent book, a boyhood memoir called Causeway: A Passage from Innocent won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non-Fiction.

Colin McAdam
Fall
Hamish Hamilton Canada
Behind the Words

Jury citation:
“The novel is set, unusually, in an exclusive boarding-school for the kids of Canada's elite and of foreign high-flyers, notably Julius, the American ambassador's confident son. There are a few girls in the school, one of them utterly beautiful and irresistible. The narrative is shared between Julius and his roommate Noel – less privileged, less attractive, a clever but confused loner. The traditional setting is offset by a sharp, modern immediacy of style and form, and by the author's brilliantly authentic insight into adolescent sexuality and its heartbreaking delusions, dreams and betrayals. This is a strikingly well-achieved novel.”    

Colin McAdam has written for Harper’s Magazine and The Walrus. His novel Some Great Thing won the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award and was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writer’s Trust Award, the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize in the UK. Colin McAdam lives in Montréal.


Anne Michaels
The Winter Vault
McClelland & Stewart
Behind the Words

Jury citation:
“This is a novel about the loss of people and the loss of place.  The "progress" initiated by the construction of the Aswan Dam and the St. Lawrence Seaway resulted in changes, not only to the respective landscapes, but also to the people who were displaced .  Displacement may be the central image of our modern world, thinks Jean, the central character of The Winter Vault.  Sometimes displacement is caused by war and sometimes by water.  Some losses are universal and others are achingly personal.  This is also a novel about healing: healing through art, through the grafting of plants, through the gift of friendship and the restorative power of time and love.  This is an intensely moving novel expressed in lyric grace.”

Anne Michaels’ first novel was Fugitive Pieces, a title that remained on Canadian bestseller lists for more than two years. Among the prizes the book has garnered are the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Trillium Book Award, the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. Fugitive Pieces was adapted into an acclaimed feature film. Michaels also wrote three poetry collections, The Weight of Oranges, Miner’s Pond and Skin Divers. Anne Michaels lives in Toronto.

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