October 4, 1994
THE GILLER PRIZE ANNOUNCES
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.
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 Ontario.
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, unforgettable
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
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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