Giller jury Anna Porter, Gary Shteyngart and Roddy Doyle boiled 142 books down to a short list that gave kudos to five different publishers. I'm pumped to see that the list includes Kim Thúy's Ru (Random House), a series of gorgeous episodes evoking the experience of a Vietnamese family immigrating to Montreal. If Thúy winds up taking the prize, she may have a dilemma about whether she should keep all $50,000. The book is superb but huge props have to go her translator Sheila Fischman.
Maybe Will Ferguson (Viking) should dump his yuk-a-minute style forever. 419, his devastating novel about online financial scams, is a huge a shift from his usually humorous fiction. It also made the list.
Nancy Richler's The Imposter Bride (HarperCollins) is another Giller shortlister, alongside Alix Ohlin, for Inside (Anansi) and short-story writer Russell Wangersky for Whirl Away (Thomas Allen).
The biggest change this year is the venue. The Four Seasons Hotel, now history, thanks to a new condo development - though a new version is on Bay - used to house the Giller gala, which moves to the Ritz-Carlton. That doesn't only affect the 400 people privileged enough to attend. The CBC will have to revamp its television broadcast of the gala, this year being aired on the network's main channel.
The race is on.
Nominations for the Governor General's literary awards are announced tomorrow. Stay tuned.