October 5, 1998

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 Giller Prize announced its 1998 shortlist and revealed special plans to mark the Prize's fifth anniversary. Selected by the jury panel, comprised of authors Margaret Atwood and Guy Vanderhaeghe and writer/broadcaster Peter Gzowski, the finalists were chosen from over 60 books submitted for consideration. Those books were submitted by 30 publishers, from seven provinces and every region of the country.

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Margaret Atwood named the finalists. They are:

  • André Alexis for his novel Childhood, published by McClelland & Stewart
  • Gail Anderson-Dargatz for her novel A Recipe for Bees, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
  • Barbara Gowdy for her novel The White Bone, published by HarperFlamingoCanada
  • Greg Hollingshead for his novel The Healer, A Phyllis Bruce Book / HarperFlamingoCanada
  • Wayne Johnston for his novel The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
  • Alice Munro for her short story collection The Love of a Good Woman, published by McClelland & Stewart / A Douglas Gibson Book

    More shortlist info

While the rules of The Giller Prize allow the jury to select between three and six finalists, this is the first time a Giller jury has not selected five. It is also the first time in the Prize's history that previous finalists appear: Gail Anderson-Dargatz was on the 1996 Giller Prize shortlist and Barbara Gowdy was nominated in 1995.

Jack Rabinovitch, who founded the Prize in memory of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, also spoke at the press conference, making two announcements that will commemorate this fifth anniversary year of the Prize. An official Giller Prize website has been created to provide browsers with a glimpse into the Prize's history (www.thegillerprize.org). The most dramatic announcement, though, was that, for the first time in Canadian literary prize history, the entire awards ceremony will be broadcast live across Canada. On Tuesday, November 3, the finalists will be honoured and a winner announced at a black-tie dinner and awards ceremony to be held at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel. From 9:00 to 10:30 p.m. EST, the entire award proceedings will be broadcast live on Bravo!NewsStyleArtsChannel.

In a statement, Moses Znaimer, Bravo's President and Executive Producer, commented, "I've been a guest of The Giller Prize since its inception. Watching our videographers shoot the event as 'news' I thought more than once; these are witty people, the video profiles of the finalists are great, and the crowd is certainly glittering. Why not shoot it all 'live'? " Jack Rabinovitch remarked, "Especially in this fifth year of the Prize, I am delighted that Bravo! is helping to make the celebration of the finalists a national event."

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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