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  • Writer's pictureErin Bragg

Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist

Here's the list of 5 Canadian works that have been shortlisted for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize, an annual award that showcases Canadian writing talent. The prize will be awarded on November 8th, 2021.

1. What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad

A beautifully written, unrelentingly dramatic, and profoundly moving story about the global refugee crisis, experienced through the eyes of a nine year old child. Amir is a a Syrian boy, who finds himself rescued and swept up on a journey to safety by a teenaged girl named Vienna. In alternating chapters, we learn about Amir's life and how he came to be on the boat, and we follow him and the girl as they make their way toward safety. What Strange Paradise is the story of two children finding their way through a hostile world. But it is also a story of empathy and indifference, of hope and despair - and about the way each of those things can blind us to reality.

2. Glorious Frazzled Beings by Angelique Lalonde

In this astounding collection of stories, human and more-than-human worlds come together in places we call home. Angelique Lalonde writes about a myriad of characters, such as menopausal gods, procreating droids and boys born as foxes in this astonishing and vivid compilation of otherworldly stories. Readers who enjoy walking the line of reality and fairy tale worlds will find in this collection a beguiling mix of the two.

3. The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia

After growing up in two very different situations, the lives of two Nigerian women divided by class and social inequality intersect when they're kidnapped, held captive, and forced to await their fate together. In this debut packed with vitality and intense human drama, the two women relate the stories of their lives. Set against four decades of vibrant Nigeria, this story celebrates the resiliency of women as they navigate and transform the man's world that they are still living in.

4. The Listeners by Jordan Tannahill

Drawn together by a low humming noise that only they can hear, unlikely members of a community form a sort of support group, as they find themselves slowly isolated from their friends and families. Over time this group finds itself transforming into something more, with consequences that become much more devastating. The Listeners is an electrifying novel that treads the thresholds of faith, conspiracy and mania. Compelling and exhilarating, it forces us to consider how strongly we hold on to what we perceive, and the way different views can tear a family apart.

5. Fight Night by Miriam Toews

Set in Toronto and told from the unflinching perspective of a nine-year-old girl named Swiv, this story is one of tenacity and family. When Swiv is expelled from school, her Grandma takes on the role of teacher and gives her the task of writing to Swiv's absent father about life in the household during the last trimester of the pregnancy. In turn, Swiv gives her Grandma a similar assignment: to write a letter to "Gord," her unborn grandchild (and Swiv's soon-to-be brother or sister).

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