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The Canadian Way: Faking It Through the Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist

The Scotiabank Giller Prize 2014 Shortlist. (Source:

The Scotiabank Giller Prize 2014 Shortlist. (Source:

Who will win???

Tonight, the Scotiabank Giller Prize will be awarded to one of six talented Canadian authors. Up for grabs is a grand prize of $100,000, while the other nominees will line their pockets with a paltry $10,000 (or roughly the average annual income a writer earns from writing, if this recent Toronto Star article is to be believed).

The prize, established in 1994 to honour literary journalist Doris Giller, will be handed out during a live telecast on CBC starting tonight at 9 p.m. EST. Rick Mercer will host, a last-minute fill-in for the usual guy whose career imploded when it got out he was an alleged* woman-beating, sexually-harassing douchebag (but that’s a whole other thing).

Like most book-loving Canadians, I’m grateful an event like the Giller exists, shining a light on Canuck wordsmiths and giving them the attention (and money) they desperately need.

Also like most book-loving Canadians, I’ve not read a single one of this year’s nominees (those monthly fail videos on YouTube aren’t going to watch themselves, you know).

But also like most book-loving Canadians, I can pretend like I’ve read the nominated books, telling you about how great they are while pulling made-up plot lines out of my ass:

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews – A depressive music critic explores her own troubled past with the same hipster snark she usually reserves for up-and-coming emo bands.

Tell by Frances Itani – A struggling gambler reconnecting with her estranged family gets a shot at the big leagues of poker. To be a contender, she must learn to bluff without twitching, dry-heaving, or letting her husband find out she’s using his RSP money to pay the entrance fees.

The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis – An adultery support group meets weekly at a local community centre to pick up the pieces of their lives. Hilarity ensues.

The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill – Rave culture is explored through the eyes of one party girl on a magical journey through Montreal’s club scene, in another book reminiscent/derivative of James Joyce’s Ulysses.

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao by Padma Viswanathan – For Ashwin Rao, it was supposed to be happily ever after. But Bollywood marriages aren’t as magical as you think, especially when your mother-in-law comes to stay. Featuring a special appearance by Rob Lowe and song lyrics by someone whose name I can’t pronounce.

Us Conductors by Sean Michaels – It’s about…trains. Yeah, trains.

What a line-up! What talent! What stories!

Good luck to each of the authors. You’re all winners until you’re mostly losers.

I look forward to reading at least the winner’s book and finding out what he/she actually wrote.






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