Giller Shortlist Shines a Light on Smaller Publishers
From left to right: David Bergen, Alexander MacLeod, Sarah Selecky, Johanna Skibsrud, Kathleen Winter.
The Scotiabank Giller Award shortlist came out yesterday, and as happens every year, a megawatt media spotlight appeared immediately to catapult the finalists into the reading public’s consciousness. The finalists are:
- David Bergen for his novel The Matter with Morris (Phyllis Bruce/Harper Collins)
- Alexander MacLeod for Light Lifting (Biblioasis), a short story collection
- Sarah Selecky for This Cake is for the Party (Thomas Allen Publishers), a short story collection
- Johanna Skibsrud for her novel The Sentimentalists (Gaspereau Press)
- Kathleen Winter for her novel Annabel (House of Anansi Press)
The Giller effect is always thrilling, but there’s a heightened sense of surprise and discovery this year since the four of the five shortlisted books hail from smaller presses. Two are debut story collections (Light Lifting and This Cake is for the Party) and two more (The Sentimentalists and Annabel) are first novels.
Smaller presses are incredibly important to our literary culture in large part because of the role they play in finding new literary talent and helping emerging authors find an audience. We’ve included links to the Giller authors’ presses in the bulleted list above: peek around their websites to see who else they’re publishing.
Also key to adding more publishing ground to the Canadian literary landscape are the cultural magazines that make space for short stories and excerpts. With this in mind, you might want to check out the magazines that published some of the finalists long before they burst onto the Giller podium: Geist, Event, The Fiddlehead, Prairie Fire, and The Walrus.