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Scotiabank Giller Prize

Scotiabank Giller Prize
Awarded for English-language Canadian fiction including translations
Country Canada
Presented by Scotiabank and Jack Rabinovitch
First awarded 1994
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Official website

The Scotiabank Giller Prize, or Giller Prize, is a literary award given to a Canadian author of a novel or short story collection published in English (including translation) the previous year, after an annual juried competition between publishers who submit entries.[1] The prize was established as the Giller Prize in 1994 by Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife Doris Giller, a former literary editor at the Toronto Star, and is awarded in November of each year along with a cash reward (then CAN$25,000).

On September 22, 2005, the Giller Prize established an endorsement deal with Scotiabank, a major Canadian bank. The total prize package for the award was increased to $50,000, with $40,000 presented to the winning author and $2,500 each for the other four shortlisted nominees. The award's official name was also changed at that time to the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

In 2006, the prize instituted a longlist for the first time, comprising no fewer than 10 and no more than 15 titles. In 2008, the prize fund was increased to $50,000 for the winning author and $5,000 for each of the authors on the shortlist. In 2014, the prize package was expanded further, to $100,000 for the winning author and $10,000 for each of the shortlisted authors.[2]

In 2011, the Giller Prize extended its recognition and support of Canadian literary talent [3] to highlight all Canadian fiction eligible for the prize in a given publishing year. The Crazy for CanLit feature [4] showcases and encourages readers to celebrate all of the published books in different ways (in 2014, with themed reading lists), often in conjunction with prizes and incentives.

Over the years, the Scotiabank Giller Prize has been awarded to emerging and established authors from both small independent and large publishing houses in Canada.

Cultural debate

Following Vincent Lam's win of the Giller Prize in 2006, Geist columnist Stephen Henighan criticized the Giller Prize for its apparent dependency for its shortlists and winners on books published by Bertelsmann AG-affiliated Canadian publishing houses, all of which are based in Toronto.

Arguing that the trend towards centralization of Canadian publishing in Toronto has led to a monopolistic control of the Giller Prize by Bertelsmann and its authors, Henighan wrote, "Year after year the vast majority of the books shortlisted for the Giller came from the triumvirate of publishers owned by the Bertelsmann Group: Knopf Canada, Doubleday Canada and Random House Canada. Like the three musketeers, this trio is in fact a quartet: Bertelsmann also owns 25 percent of McClelland & Stewart, and now manages M&S’s marketing."[5] Henighan added that all of the Giller Prize winners from 1994 to 2004, with the exception of Mordecai Richler, lived within a two-hour drive of downtown Toronto.

The article raised debate within the media and in the wider public over the credibility of the Giller Prize.[6][7][8]

In 2010, there was much talk about how small presses dominated that year’s shortlist.[9] Montrealer Johanna Skibsrud won the Giller Prize that year for her novel The Sentimentalists, published by independent Gaspereau Press. The company produces books using a 1960s offset printing press and hand-bindery equipment.[10] As a result, while there was great demand for the book in the marketplace, the publisher had trouble keeping up with production.[11] In the end, they turned to Douglas & McIntyre,[12] a large West-coast publisher, to print copies of the book.

The Gaspereau situation prompted an examination within the cultural community about what makes a book and the nature of publishing and marketing books.[13] The book also became the top-selling title for Kobo eReaders, outselling even George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points.[14]

Nominees and winners

Year Winner Nominated
Jury: Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler, David Staines
File:Blueribbon icon.png M.G. Vassanji, The Book of Secrets
Jury: Mordecai Richler, David Staines, Jane Urquhart
File:Blueribbon icon.png Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance
Jury: Bonnie Burnard, Carol Shields, David Staines
File:Blueribbon icon.png Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace
Jury: Bonnie Burnard, Mavis Gallant, Peter Gzowski
File:Blueribbon icon.png Mordecai Richler, Barney's Version
Jury: Margaret Atwood, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Peter Gzowski
File:Blueribbon icon.png Alice Munro, The Love of a Good Woman
Jury: Alberto Manguel, Judith Mappin, Nino Ricci
File:Blueribbon icon.png Bonnie Burnard, A Good House
Jury: Margaret Atwood, Alistair MacLeod, Jane Urquhart
File:Blueribbon icon.png Michael Ondaatje, Anil's Ghost
File:Blueribbon icon.png David Adams Richards, Mercy Among the Children
Jury: David Adams Richards, Joan Clark, Robert Fulford
File:Blueribbon icon.png Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan
Jury: Barbara Gowdy, Thomas King, W. H. New
File:Blueribbon icon.png Austin Clarke, The Polished Hoe
Jury: Rosalie Abella, David Staines, Rudy Wiebe
File:Blueribbon icon.png M.G. Vassanji, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall
Jury: M. G. Vassanji, Alistair MacLeod, Charlotte Gray
File:Blueribbon icon.png Alice Munro, Runaway
Jury: Warren Cariou, Elizabeth Hay, Richard B. Wright
File:Blueribbon icon.png David Bergen, The Time in Between
Jury: Adrienne Clarkson, Alice Munro, Michael Winter[15]
File:Blueribbon icon.png Vincent Lam, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Jury: David Bergen, Camilla Gibb, Lorna Goodison
File:Blueribbon icon.png Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air
Jury: Margaret Atwood, Bob Rae, Colm Toibin
File:Blueribbon icon.png Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce
Jury: Russell Banks, Victoria Glendinning, Alistair MacLeod
File:Blueribbon icon.png Linden MacIntyre, The Bishop's Man
Jury: Michael Enright, Claire Messud, Ali Smith[16]
File:Blueribbon icon.png Johanna Skibsrud, The Sentimentalists
Jury: Howard Norman, Annabel Lyon, Andrew O'Hagan[17]
File:Blueribbon icon.png Esi Edugyan, Half-Blood Blues
Jury: Roddy Doyle, Gary Shteyngart, Anna Porter[18]
File:Blueribbon icon.png Will Ferguson, 419[19]
Jury: Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan, Jonathan Lethem[20]
File:Blueribbon icon.png Lynn Coady, Hellgoing
Jury: Shauna Singh Baldwin, Justin Cartwright, Francine Prose[21]
File:Blueribbon icon.png Sean Michaels, Us Conductors[22]
Jury: John Boyne, Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod, Helen Oyeyemi, Alison Pick
To be announced: November 10, 2015 To be announced: October 5, 2015



In 2006, the Giller Prize publicized its preliminary longlist for the first time.






In 2011, the Giller Prize committee incorporated a Readers' Choice process into its longlist for the first time, allowing members of the general public to nominate and make the case for books of their own choosing, from which the winning book would be included in the long list. The Readers' Choice selection was Myrna Dey's novel Extensions.[23]





  1. The Scotiabank Giller Prize: Submissions.
  2. "Giller Prize money doubles to $140,000". Toronto Star, September 16, 2014.
  3. The Scotiabank Giller Prize: Prize History
  4. The Scotiabank Giller Prize: Crazy for CanLit
  5. Stephen Henighan (2006). "Kingmakers". Geist. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  6. Shinan Govani (2007-02-28). "An anti-Giller gadfly in Guelph". National Post. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  7. Bryony Lewicki (2007-01-23). "Secrets of the Canadian literary cabal". Quillblog. Quill & Quire. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  8. Ron Nurwisah (2007-01-23). "Are The Gillers Rigged?". Torontoist. Retrieved 2008-04-26. 
  9. James Adams (2010-10-05). "The Giller Prize: Could this be the year of the small press?". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  10. Gaspereau Press Background
  11. John Barber (2010-11-10). "Author's angst grows over unavailability of Giller winner". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  12. Mark Medley (2010-11-15). "Gaspereau Press teams up with Douglas & McIntyre for The Sentimentalists". National Post. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  13. Globe Editorial (2010-11-10). "Giller is enough to drive you to Gasperation". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-11-11. 
  14. Nick Patch (2010-11-12). "Scarcity of Giller-winning ‘Sentimentalists’ a boon to eBook sales". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  15. The Great Unknowns: CBC Arts Online analyzes the literary dash for the Giller cash., October 3, 2006.
  16. "Rachman, Bergen, Urquhart and Coupland on Giller long list". The Globe and Mail, September 20, 2010.
  17. "DeWitt and Edugyan add Giller nods to Booker nominations". The Globe and Mail, October 4, 2011.
  18. "Scotiabank Giller Prize short list announced". Toronto Star, October 1, 2012.
  19. "Will Ferguson takes Giller Prize for novel 419". Toronto Star, October 30, 2012.
  20. "Scotiabank Giller Prize announces 2013 longlist nominees". Toronto Star, September 16, 2013.
  21. "Jury for the 2014 Giller Prize unveiled". National Post, February 19, 2014.
  22. "Sean Michaels awarded Giller Prize for his book ‘Us Conductors’". The Globe and Mail, November 10, 2014.
  23. "DeWitt, Edugyan, Ondaatje and Vanderhaege among 17 on Giller long list". The Globe and Mail, September 6, 2011.

External links