The Giller Prize - Previous News
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October 4, 1994
THE GILLER PRIZE ANNOUNCES SHORTLIST
Canada's Premier Prize for Fiction Names Its Finalists
TORONTO - Today, in a morning press conference that drew over 100
media and members of the publishing industry, the newly established
Giller Prize announced its inaugural shortlist.
The largest annual prize for fiction in the country,
The Giller Prize awards $25,000 each year to the author of the best
Canadian novel or short story collection published in English.
Selected by the jury panel, comprised of authors
Alice Munro and Mordecai Richler and editor/academic David Staines,
the finalists were chosen from over 85 books submitted for consideration.
Those books were submitted by 36 publishers, from eight provinces
and every region of the country.
Jack Rabinovitch, who founded the Prize in memory
of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, spoke at the
press conference. In his speech, he affirmed his intention to make
The Giller Prize synonymous with great Canadian literature, as The
Booker Prize is to writing in the Commonwealth and the Prix Goncourt
is to writing in France. With strong marketing plans, including
national newspaper advertising, extensive publicity efforts, and
promotion in bookstores across the country, The Giller Prize is
poised to make a major contribution to fiction in Canada.
Speaking on behalf of the jury, David Staines named
The finalists will be honoured and a winner
will be announced at a gala black-tie dinner and awards ceremony,
to be held at Toronto's Four Season's Hotel on the evening of Wednesday,
November 2nd, 1994.
ABOUT THE 1994 FINALISTS
CASINO & OTHER STORIES
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
In this collection of nine stories, the reader sees the painful
collision of youthful innocence and the bleak wisdom of age; the
ironies of love and the complexities of sexuality. Several stories
experiment with time and the random intersection of lives, becoming
explorations of the pattern and texture of everyday experience.
Written with honesty and an unforgiving eye, Casino & Other
Stories is wry and intelligent, human and moving.
Bonnie Burnard's first collection of stories, Women of Influence,
published in 1988 in Canada, England and Australia, won the Commonwealth
Best First Book Award. She is a writer, creative writing teacher
and reviewer whose work has been widely anthologized and dramatized
on the CBC. She was the fiction editor of Grain magazine from 1982
to 1986, and has been an active member of several writers' organizations
including the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild and the Writers' Union
of Canada. Up until very recently, Burnard lived in Regina, Saskatchewan.
She currently lives with her three teenaged children in southern
WHAT YOU NEED
Somerville House Publishing
When Terence Buddy Whelper opens the door to Dorene LaTisha Perney,
his placid world is turned upside down. A would-be country backup
singer, Dorene believes she has just electrocuted her cruel boyfriend
Chad, and she turns to the kindness of strangers to stay one step
ahead of the law. Suffused with the heady atmosphere of the American
south, What You Need is peopled by a cast of real, quirky,
Eliza Clark's debut novel, Miss You Like Crazy, was shorlisted
for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and the Ontario Trillium
Book Award, and is already in its fourth printing. Her short stories
have appeared in many literary journals and magazines. Eliza Clark
lives in Toronto with her husband and daughter.
McClelland & Stewart
Funny Boy is the literary debut of 29-year-old novelist Shyam
Selvadurai. Set in Sri Lanka, it is a haunting novel, told in six
stories, about a boy growing up within an extended upper-middle
class Tamil family in Colombo, during the seven years leading up
to the 1983 riots. Selvadurai subtly juxtaposes a boy's passage
to adolescence and maturity with the upheavals of growing political
unrest. The result is a novel about discovery and leave-taking,
while time and time again the true longings of the human heart come
up against the way things are.
Shyam Selvadurai was born in 1965 in Colombo, Sri Lanka. At the
age of 19, he emigrated to Canada with his family after the 1983
riots in Colombo. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in
Theatre Directing and Playwriting from York University in 1988.
He has studied creative writing and magazine writing, written for
television, and worked at a bookstore. Funny Boy is Selvadurai's
first published book. He is currently working on his next novel,
set in Sri Lanka, between 1848 and the early 1900's
THE BOOK OF SECRETS
McClelland & Stewart
The Book of Secrets, M.G. Vassanji's fourth work of fiction,
opens in 1988, in Dar es Salaam, when the 1913 diary of a British
colonial administrator is found in a shopkeeper's backroom. The
diary enflames the curiosity of retired schoolteacher Pius Fernandes,
and his exploration of the stories it contains gradually connects
the past with the present. Vassanji brings alive vividly the landscapes,
the towns and the cities of East Africa from the days of the Great
War, through independence, all the way to the close of the eighties.
M.G. Vassanji was born in Kenya and raised in Tanzania. Before coming
to Canada in 1978, he attended M.I.T. in Massachusetts and he was
a writer-in-residence at the University of Iowa in their prestigious
International Writing Program. His previous novels are No New
Land and The Gunny Sack, which won a Regional Commonwealth
Prize. His most recent book was Uhuru Street, a collection
of linked short stories. M.G. Vassanji lives in Toronto and is at
work on his next novel.
THE MUSEUM OF LOVE
The Overlook Press
Distributed by Penguin Books Canada
The Museum of Love traces the macabre and compelling journey
of a young French-Canadian, Jean-Michel Verhaeren, from his oppressive
hometown on the shores of Lake Superior across North America. His
father is a morbid prison guard, his mother a mystical Catholic,
his brother an adolescent saint and martyr, while he, Jean-Michel,
is an innocent and receptive vessel, fiercely intelligent, anti-religious
and tentatively homosexual. The Museum of Love captures family
conflict, racial tension and homoerotic longing in its fevered,
magic realist style.
Steve Weiner was born in Wisconsin in 1947. He studied writing at
the University of California and went on to study film animation.
He lives in Vancouver.
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