Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist announced

Oct 5, 2015 | News

Literature immerses readers and takes them to a new world full of imagination and catharsis. Photo from FLICKR Commons: Pedro Jesus.

Literature immerses readers and takes them to a new world full of imagination and catharsis. Photo from FLICKR Commons: Pedro Jesus.

By Shaun Fitl

The Scotiabank Giller Prize 2015 shortlist was announced today.

The nominated authors are André Alexis, Samuel Archibald, Rachel Cusk, Heather O’Neill and Anakana Schofield.

The Giller Prize was created in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in memory of his wife Doris Giller, who had lost her battle with cancer the prior year.

The award recognizes excellent Canadian fiction in different formats originally with a cash prize of $25,000.

The cash prize increased as years went by with the Giller Prize’s partnership with Scotiabank.

In 2014, Rabinovitch announced the prize would now be $100,000, making the Giller Prize the richest fiction prize in Canada.

Scotiabank said the prize speaks to what it wants to represent as a bank in terms of the enrichment of communities through the arts.

The long-list had been announced Sept. 9 and included 12 different titles, chosen from a pool of 168 books.

The prestigious jury includes writers including John Boyne, Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod, Alison Pick and Helen Oyeyemi.

The jury applauds the “extraordinary treasures found in contemporary Canadian literature” in a statement on the Scotiabank Giller Prize website.

Dr. Dan Andreae is a professor of psychology at University of Guelph-Humber.

“There is an interplay between the content and the form… the content is the plot and how it unfolds and the form is how it is presented,” said Andreae. “This depends on the language used.”

In terms of how the stories are able to take the reader to a new world, there is an element of systematic relation between each reader and each word that is written.

“It depends on how we identify with the characters, the protagonists,” said Andreae.

“Is there a piece of reality that we can see ourselves in? We put ourselves into the characters and think ‘What would they do?’ and ‘Would I do the same thing?’” said Andreae.

One of the most important elements in what makes a story great is the level of entertainment, said Andreae.

But the bottom line is, “It all depends on the individual and the circumstance and (some) sense of escape in a positive way,” said Andreae.

Readers are looking for a bridge between themselves and the rest of the world, said Andreae.

The journey of the novel wouldn’t make sense without the ending, said Anna Bravo, a first-year Occupational Therapist Assistant/Physiotherapist Assistant student.

“I think the ending makes the novel great,” said Bravo. “It really ties everything together.”

“It is the part that everybody is waiting for, that dramatic finish,” said Bravo.

Readers have the opportunity to get insight into the minds and perspectives of the writers during the Between the Pages presentations, scheduled in October and November.

The earliest date is Oct. 21 at Vancouver Playhouse in Vancouver.