The 2003 Giller Prize - News

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October 2, 2003
THE GILLER PRIZE 2003 ANNOUNCES SHORTLIST
Canada's Premier Literary 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 Giller Prize announced its 2003 shortlist and revealed special plans to mark its 10th anniversary. Selected by an esteemed jury panel, comprised of jurist Rosalie Silberman Abella, scholar and academic David Staines and author Rudy Wiebe, the five finalists were chosen from 93 books submitted for consideration. Those books were submitted by 38 publishers from every region of the country.

The jury named the finalists. They are:

Margaret Atwood for her novel Oryx and Crake, published by McClelland & Stewart
John Bemrose for his novel The Island Walkers, published by McClelland & Stewart
John Gould for his short story collection Kilter: 55 Fictions, published by Turnstone Press
Ann-Marie MacDonald for her novel The Way the Crow Flies, published by Knopf Canada
M.G. Vassanji for his novel, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, published by Doubleday Canada

Jack Rabinovitch, who founded the Prize in memory of his late wife, literary journalist
Doris Giller, spoke at the press conference and announced several initiatives underway
to mark the 10th anniversary of the Prize.

The Broadcast
For the first time, the awards ceremony will be simulcast live across Canada on three
networks: Bravo! NewsStyleArtsChannel, Book Television: The Channel and CBC Television.
The show will run from 9:00P until 10:00P Eastern. This is Bravo!’s 6th year broadcasting
the awards, and the first time CBC will air the ceremony live.

The Gala
On Tuesday, November 4th, the finalists will be honoured and a winner announced at
a gala black tie dinner and awards ceremony to be held at Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel.
In a departure from tradition, Jack Rabinovitch will be handing over gala hosting duties
this year to Mary Walsh, host of CBC Television’s Open Book and This Hour Has 22 Minutes.
“Short of winning the much coveted award, says Walsh, “nothing could thrill me more than hosting it.”

Public Library Promotion
As part of a focused campaign to bring Canadian literature to a wider reading audience, The Giller Prize has teamed up with the Toronto Public Library (TPL) to launch a pilot project involving this year’s shortlisted books, set to begin Tuesday, October 14th, 2003.

The TPL - with over 30 million actual and virtual visitors each year - will carry ballot boxes in 15 branches across the city and will also run the promotion through their website at www.tpl.toronto.on.ca. On the ballots, contest participants will be asked to predict the winner. The draw will take place on November 5. The first five winning entries will receive the entire 2003 shortlist library.

Statistics gathered by the TPL indicate that demand for the Giller shortlisted and winning titles increases each year. Josephine Bryant, City Librarian, says given readers’ enthusiasm, the association is a perfect fit. “The Toronto Public Library has long been a proud supporter of Canadian literature. We know our patrons have a keen interest in stories by and about Canadians and we’re delighted to respond to that interest by working with The Giller Prize on this project,” says Bryant.

The Giller Prize is committed to widening the scope of the Library program to include every region of the country once the pilot project is completed and assessed.

The Giller Light
Also on November 4, Frontier College will host its second-annual Giller Light Bash at Steam Whistle Brewing in Toronto. The goal is to raise funds to help children and youth improve their reading and writing skills through an expansion of Frontier College’s Homework Clubs, its after school literacy program for inner-city students. Last year, the Giller Light Bash raised $12,500. Please visit http://www.gillerlight.ca.for more information.

Department of Canadian Heritage
We are pleased to announce that the Department of Canadian Heritage, through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (BPIDP) is providing financial support for this, the 10th year of the Prize.


The Giller Prize awards $25,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. The Giller Prize is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband, Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch.

 

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