The Giller Prize (sponsored as the Scotiabank 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. The prize was established 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).
|Awarded for||English-language Canadian fiction including translations|
|Presented by||Scotiabank and the Giller Prize Foundation|
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. In 2015, the jury was expanded from three to five people.
Over the years, the Giller Prize has run different promotions to extend its recognition and support of Canadian literary talent to highlight all Canadian fiction eligible for the prize in a given publishing year. For example, the Crazy for CanLit feature, which highlights the initial list of all titles that are under consideration for the award's longlist and shortlist nominations, seeks to publicize Canadian literature by engaging readers and writers through social media tools.
Since its inception, the Giller Prize has been awarded to emerging and established authors from both small independent and large publishing houses in Canada.
Since Rabinovitch's death in 2017, the Giller Prize Foundation is now overseen by his daughter Elana Rabinovitch.
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." 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.
In 2010, there was much talk about how small presses dominated that year’s shortlist. 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. As a result, while there was great demand for the book in the marketplace, the publisher had trouble keeping up with production. In the end, they turned to Douglas & McIntyre, 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. The book also became the top-selling title for Kobo eReaders, outselling even George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points.
Nominees and winnersEdit
- "Five vie for Giller Prize". The Globe and Mail. September 28, 2005. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
- "A taste of the glamorous life". The Globe and Mail. April 17, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2019.
- "The Scotiabank Giller Prize turns 25". The Fulcrum, November 20, 2018.
- "Giller Prize money doubles to $140,000". Toronto Star, September 16, 2014.
- "Introducing the Five-Member Jury Panel for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize". Scotiabank Giller Prize, January 14, 2015.
- The Scotiabank Giller Prize: Prize History
- "Elana Rabinovitch ready to write the Giller Prize’s next chapter: Govani". Toronto Star, November 12, 2017.
- Stephen Henighan, "Kingmakers". Geist, 2006.
- Shinan Govani (2007-02-28). "An anti-Giller gadfly in Guelph". National Post. Archived from the original on 2007-07-17. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- Bryony Lewicki (2007-01-23). "Secrets of the Canadian literary cabal". Quillblog. Quill & Quire. Archived from the original on 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- Ron Nurwisah (2007-01-23). "Are The Gillers Rigged?". Torontoist. Retrieved 2008-04-26.
- Stephen Henighan (2015-11-06). "How a Giller Prize critic got invited to the party". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2015-11-18.
- 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.
- Gaspereau Press Background
- John Barber (2010-11-10). "Author's angst grows over unavailability of Giller winner". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-11-16.
- Mark Medley (2010-11-15). "Gaspereau Press teams up with Douglas & McIntyre for The Sentimentalists". National Post. Retrieved 2010-11-15.
- Globe Editorial (2010-11-10). "Giller is enough to drive you to Gasperation". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Nick Patch (2010-11-12). "Scarcity of Giller-winning 'Sentimentalists' a boon to eBook sales". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
- The Great Unknowns: CBC Arts Online analyzes the literary dash for the Giller cash. cbc.ca, October 3, 2006.
- "Rachman, Bergen, Urquhart and Coupland on Giller long list". The Globe and Mail, September 20, 2010.
- "DeWitt and Edugyan add Giller nods to Booker nominations" Archived 2011-10-05 at the Wayback Machine. The Globe and Mail, October 4, 2011.
- "Scotiabank Giller Prize short list announced". Toronto Star, October 1, 2012.
- "Will Ferguson takes Giller Prize for novel 419" Archived 2012-12-27 at the Wayback Machine. Toronto Star, October 30, 2012.
- "Scotiabank Giller Prize announces 2013 longlist nominees". Toronto Star, September 16, 2013.
- "Lynn Coady Wins The 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize". www.scotiabank.com. Retrieved 17 April 2017.
- "Jury for the 2014 Giller Prize unveiled". National Post, February 19, 2014.
- "Sean Michaels awarded Giller Prize for his book ‘Us Conductors’". The Globe and Mail, November 10, 2014.
- "Michael Redhill wins Scotiabank Giller Prize". CTV News, November 20, 2017.
- "Esi Edugyan wins Scotiabank Giller Prize for 'Washington Black'". CTV News, November 19, 2018.