The 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize Five
The five finalists for the richest annual literary award for excellence in Canadian fiction, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, were recently announced on September 27. The prize—$100,000—will be awarded at a live gala on Monday, November 7.
This year, 138 works of literature were submitted for consideration by publishers across Canada. The longlist of 14 titles was shortlisted by an all-star literary panel that included award-winning Canadian authors Kaie Kellough, Casey Plett, and Waubgeshig Rice, and American authors Katie Kitamura and Scott Spencer.
The Giller Prize was founded in 1994 by philanthropist Jack Rabinovitch in memory of his late wife, Doris Giller, who was a literary columnist for the Toronto Star. Scotiabank teamed up with The Giller Prize in 2005 to create the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
Read the 5 Shortlisted Books for 2022
If you're looking for a great story to delve into this fall, check out these prize-worthy titles.
LESSER KNOWN MONSTERS OF THE 21ST CENTURY: STORIES BY KIM FU
In the twelve unforgettable tales of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, the strange is made familiar and the familiar strange, such that a girl growing wings on her legs feels like an ordinary rite of passage, while a bug-infested house becomes an impossible, Kafkaesque nightmare. Each story builds a new world all its own: a group of children steal a haunted doll; a runaway bride encounters a sea monster; a vendor sells toy boxes that seemingly control the passage of time; an insomniac is seduced by the Sandman. These visions of modern life wrestle with themes of death and technological consequence, guilt and sexuality, as they unmask the contradictions that exist within all of us.
STRAY DOGS: STORIES BY RAWI HAGE
In Montreal, a photographer's unexpected encounter with actress Sophia Loren leads to a life-altering revelation about his dead mother. In Beirut, a disillusioned geologist eagerly awaits the destruction that will come with an impending tsunami. In Tokyo, a Jordanian academic delivering a lecture at a conference receives haunting news from the Persian Gulf. And in Berlin, a Lebanese writer forms a fragile, fateful bond with his voluble German neighbours. The irresistible characters in Stray Dogs lead radically different lives, but all are restless travellers, moving between states—nation-states and states of mind—seeking connection, escaping the past and following delicate threads of truth, only to experience the sometimes shocking, sometimes amusing and often random ways our fragile modern identities are constructed, destroyed, and reborn.
Borrow: Stray Dogs
WE MEASURE THE EARTH WITH OUR BODIES BY TSERING YANGZOM LAMA
In the wake of China’s invasion of Tibet throughout the 1950s, Lhamo and her sister, Tenkyi, arrive at a refugee camp on the border of Nepal, having survived the dangerous journey across the Himalayas into exile. As Lhamo—haunted by the loss of her homeland and her mother, the village oracle—tries to rebuild a life amid a shattered community, hope arrives in the form of a young man who carries the ancient statue of the Nameless Saint, a relic long rumoured to vanish and reappear in times of need. Decades later, Tenkyi is living with her niece, Dolma, in Toronto. While Tenkyi works as a cleaner and struggles with traumatic memories, Dolma vies for a place as a scholar of Tibetan Studies. But when Doma comes across the Nameless Saint in a collector’s vault, she must decide what she is willing to do for her community, even if it means risking her dreams.
SLEEPING CAR PORTER BY SUZETTE MAYR
When a mudslide strands a train, Baxter, a queer Black sleeping car porter, must contend with the perils of white passengers, ghosts, and his secret love affair. Baxter’s name isn’t George. But it’s 1929, and Baxter is lucky enough, as a Black man, to have a job on a train that crisscrosses the country. So when the passengers call him George, he has to just smile and act invisible. He really wants to go to dentistry school, but he’ll have to save up lots of tips to get there, so he puts up with “George.” On this trip the passengers are more unruly than usual, especially when the train is stalled for two days; their secrets start to leak out and blur with Baxter's sleep-deprivation hallucinations. When he finds a postcard of two queer men, Baxter’s memories and longings are reawakened; keeping it puts his job in peril, but he can’t part with the postcard or his thoughts.
Borrow: Sleeping Car Porter
IF AN EGYPTIAN CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH: A NOVEL BY NOOR NAGA
In the aftermath of the Arab Spring, an Egyptian American woman and a man from the village of Shobrakheit meet at a café in Cairo. He was a photographer of the revolution, but now finds himself unemployed and addicted to cocaine, living in a rooftop shack. She is a nostalgic daughter of immigrants "returning" to a country she's never been to before, teaching English and living in a light-filled flat with balconies on all sides. They fall in love and he moves in. But soon their desire—for one another, for the selves they want to become through the other—takes a violent turn that neither of them expected
If you're already on the waitlist for some of these books, you can find related reading using the online resource Novelist. Once you've logged in using your BPL card number, you can search for "readalikes" for any of these titles.
The Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala airs on Monday, November 7th at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.