Writer, past winner and 2013 juror Esi Edugyan unveiled a long list of 13 contenders today at the University of British Columbia's Museum of Anthropology.
The $50,000 Giller Prize is awarded to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English over the past year. The remaining finalists receive $5,000 each. The annual literary honour is named after literary journalist Doris Giller, the late wife of prize founder Jack Rabinovitch.
This year's three-member jury, which also includes Canlit stalwart (and past winner) Margaret Atwood and American writer Jonathan Lethem, described the nominated titles as "essential stories" that "offer a glimpse of who we are, who we might be."
"Whether set in postwar Vienna, or 1970s Montreal, contemporary Afghanistan or Newfoundland, each of these books took us out of ourselves to places that were at times uncomfortable, at times exhilarating. Some of the short stories in these collections exhibit a scope and breadth one would normally associate with a novel; some of the novels on this list have the distilled intensity one expects from short fiction. But all of these books surprised us with their formal rigour, the ferocity of their vision, and their willingness to tell unknown stories in remarkably familiar ways," the jury said in a statement.
Chosen from 147 submissions, the 13 semi-finalists include Joseph Boyden, a past Giller winner for Through Black Spruce. He's nominated for his latest novel The Orenda.
A host of well-known Newfoundland authors made the cut as well: Lisa Moore, Wayne Johnston and Michael Winter, who are joined by new author Elisabeth De Mariaffi.
The 2013 contenders are:
- Dennis Bock (based in Toronto) for his novel Going Home Again.
- Joseph Boyden (based in Northern Ontario and Louisiana) for his novel The Orenda.
- Lynn Coady (based in Edmonton) for her short story collection Hellgoing.
- Craig Davidson (based in Toronto) for his novel Cataract City.
- Elisabeth De Mariaffi (based in St. John's) for her short story collection How To Get Along With Women.
- David Gilmour (based in Toronto) for his novel Extraordinary.
- Wayne Grady (based in Kingston, Ont.) for his novel Emancipation Day.
- Louis Hamelin (based in Sherbrooke, Que.) for his novel October 1970, translated by Wayne Grady.
- Wayne Johnston (based in Toronto) for his novel The Son of a Certain Woman.
- Claire Messud (based in Cambridge, Mass.) for her novel The Woman Upstairs.
- Lisa Moore (based in St. John's) for her novel Caught.
- Dan Vyleta (based in Edmonton) for his novel The Crooked Maid.
- Michael Winter (based in Conception Bay, N.L. and Toronto) for his novel Minister Without Portfolio.
The short list of finalists will be unveiled in Toronto on Oct. 8, with the 2013 winner to be announced Nov. 5 at a televised gala airing on CBC-TV.