The 1997 Giller Prize - Shortlist

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Michael Helm
Douglas & McIntyre

It's the summer of 1988, a year since Toss Raymond's marriage went south and he made a public spectacle of himself by thrashing a neighbor. Now, as he finishes what might be his last year as a high school teacher, the school board gathers grounds for his dismissal, and he must decide what he will remain true to: his troublesome desire to follow his heart, or his need to stay true to the idea of 'home'.

Michael Helm was born in Eston, Saskatchewan and educated at the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Toronto, and at jobs ranging from roofer to garbage collector, farm labourer to library clerk. He has taught literature and writing at several Ontario colleges and universities and has been an editor for Descant Magazine. Michael Helm currently teaches at Humber College in Toronto and divides his time between Toronto and points west. The Projectionist is his first book.

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Shani Mootoo
Press Gang Publishers

At the core of this multigenerational novel are the shifting faces of Mala - adventurer and protector, recluse and madwoman. Told by Tyler, Mala's vivacious male caretaker at the Paradise Alms House, the story is layered with scenes of a world where love and treachery collide.

Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. She is the author of a collection of short stories entitled Out on Main Street. Her work has also appeared in collections including The Skin on Our Tongue and Forbidden Subjects, and her poetry has been anthologised in The Very Inside. A filmmaker and visual artist, Shani Mootoo has also written and directed several videos, including English Lessons and The Wild Woman in the Woods and her paintings and photobased works have been exhibited internationally. She divides her time between Vancouver and Brooklyn, New York.

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Nino Ricci
McClelland & Stewart

Vittorio (Victor) Innocente re-meets his half-sister Rita in Toronto, shortly after his father's death. Uneasy with their new proximity, Victor and Rita are at first restrained, distant. But gradually the weight of what is unspoken between them comes closer to the surface, setting in motion a course of events that will take Victor back to Valle del Sole, the place of his birth.

Nino Ricci was born in Leamington, Ontario in 1959. After completing his B.A. in English literature, he taught in Nigeria and travelled through Africa and Europe. He has also studied Italian literature at the University of Florence and completed a Masters in Creative Writing at Montreal's Concordia University, where he later taught. His first novel Lives of the Saints (1990) won honours including the Governor General's Award for Fiction and the F.G. Bressani Prize. The second novel in the trilogy was In a Glass House (1993). Nino Ricci, a past president of PEN Canada, now lives in Toronto.

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Mordecai Richler
Alfred A. Knopf Canada

Here is the life of Barney Panofsky, whose trashy TV company, Totally Useless Productions, has made him a small fortune and whose memory, in his sixty-seventh year, is definitely slipping. With questionable accuracy, he recollects his three marriages and his slides from crisis to success, from low to highlife in Montreal, London and Paris.

A novelist, essayist, and occasional screenwriter, Mordecai Richler is the author of many books including The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Joshua Then and Now, This Year in Jerusalem, and Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang. He has twice received the Governor General's Award for Fiction, has twice been shortlisted for The Booker Prize, and has won a commonwealth Writers Prize. Born in Montreal in 1931, Mordecai Richler divides his time between London, England, and a home in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

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Carol Shields
Random House of Canada

Larry Weller's life spans the spontaneity of the seventies, the blind enchantment of the eighties, and the lean, mean nineties. Told in episodes that flash seamlessly between 1977 and 1997, Larry's Party chronicles the tribulations of Weller's two marriages and divorces, his relationship with his parents and their private tragedy, the birth of his son, the development of his career, and his agonizing mid-life crisis in an odyssey that mirrors the male condition at the end of the century.

Carol Shields was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois and has lived in Canada since 1957. The author of numerous novels, plays and story collections, she has won the Canadian Authors' Association Award for fiction, the Marian Engel Award for a body of work, and, for The Stone Diaries, won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and The National Book Critic's Circle Award for fiction in the United States. She now lives with her husband in Winnipeg, where she is Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg.

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