The literary awards season is upon us
Yesterday the Giller Prize longlist was announced. Last week the National Book Awards longlists were announced, comprising four old and one new categories: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, juvenile fiction, and now translated fiction. On Thursday the Booker shortlist is announced, and then next week the Goldsmiths shortlist is announced. That’s a lot of potential books to read. And no, I’m not planning on reading all of them. I will finish the Booker longlist (and keep posting my reviews). I have 1 1/2 books to go and hope to have the 1/2 done by Thursday. I’m intrigued by the Giller list and I’ve only read one book from the longlist, Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, which is also a Booker longlist nominee. I’m planning to sample as many books as I can from the Giller and NBA longlists, but there’s no way I can read them before the shortlists are announced in October. I really enjoyed my Giller readings last year, though, not least because I hadn’t even heard of many of the books. The US literary industry is terrible at covering Canadian lit until there’s an award nomination unless the person is already well known. Here’s the longlist from the CBC website (links go to CBC pages which tell you more about the books and authors:
- Zolitude by Paige Cooper
- French Exit by Patrick deWitt
- Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric Dupont, translated by Peter McCambridge
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
- Beirut Hellfire Society by Rawi Hage
- Motherhood by Sheila Heti
- Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper
- An Ocean of Minutes by Thea Lim
- Something for Everyone by Lisa Moore
- Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq
- Vi by Kim Thúy, translated Sheila Fischman
- Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead
- Jamel Brinkley, A Lucky Man (Graywolf Press)
- Jennifer Clement, Gun Love (Hogarth / Penguin Random House)
- Lauren Groff, Florida (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House)
- Daniel Gumbiner, The Boatbuilder (McSweeney’s)
- Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking (Soho Press)
- Tayari Jones, An American Marriage (Algonquin Books / Workman Publishing)
- Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers (Viking Books / Penguin Random House)
- Sigrid Nunez, The Friend (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House)
- Tommy Orange, There There (Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House)
- Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heads of the Colored People (Atria Books / 37 INK / Simon & Schuster)
- Booker: Shortlist 20 September, Winner 16 October
- Giller: Shortlist 1 October, Winner 19 November
- Goldsmiths: Shortlist 26 October, Winner 14 November
- National Book Awards: Shortlists 10 October, Winner 14 November
Hmm. I read part of Florida by Lauren Groff in June, but then I get really sick and around the time I was in the hospital, it went back to the library. I didn’t try to check it out of the library because although the first four stories ranged from excellent to solid, they were too similar to each other, most had children in jeopardy, and by the fourth, I felt like I was catching on to Groff’s disquieting-sense-of-menace shtick. Now I wonder if I should check the book out again and read the remaining stories.
Oh, I remember when you were reading those stories. I think if you feel as if you have a good sense of where she was going, then only read if you want to see how the rest of them fit. You can also wait to see if it makes the shortlist. There are so. many. books.
Thanks for the links to the Giller books. I’ve been eyeing the Patrick deWill–‘French Exit’. None of the other books’ descriptions tugged at me, except, possibly, ‘Zolitude’ I am surprised that ‘Warlight’ is not on the list.
I fully sympathize with you as you are caught up, once again, in the ‘too many books, too little time’ dilemma. Don’t let it stress you out.
I’ve seen speculation, which I think is plausible, that Ondaatje asked that Warlight not be submitted. CanLit is a small world and a handful of names can easily dominate prize lists.
That makes sense to me. He seems like a generous and good person in the articles I’ve read.
Oh, I thought it might be something like that. The book is easily worthy of being on the list, IMO, so its absence is rather glaring..
And let me correct my typo–Patrick deWitt. French Exit has gotten a lot of good mentions in the US press. The Washington Post had a really nice review in August. Piqued my interest…
Excellent advice that I need to keep in mind. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “read everything now” mentality and ignore the stuff already on the shelf. I’m going to sample freely and then read the ones that stick with me, as I have time. They aren’t going anywhere!