Giller finalists planning for big night

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Kathleen Winter poses for a photo in Toronto Thursday. The Newfoundland writer has been shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel “Annabel.” The prize will be awarded Tuesday night in Toronto. — Photo by The Canadian Press

Canada’s most lucrative literary honour, the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize, will be awarded Tuesday night during a televised black-tie gala at a Toronto hotel.

Five authors are shortlisted for the prize: David Bergen, Alexander MacLeod, Sarah Selecky, Johanna Skibsrud and Kathleen Winter, originally from St. John’s. The runners-up all receive $5,000.

The Canadian Press conducted email interviews with the finalists and asked about their inspirations, their plans for Giller night.

Kathleen Winter, who lives in Montreal, is nominated for “Annabel” (House of Anansi Press):

Age: The Globe and Mail says I’m 40, but I’m not.

Hometown: St. John’s, N.L.

Describe your nominated book in one sentence:

Wayne was born half girl and a fearful town raised him male, but he found Annabel inside himself and this is the story of his transformation.

What do you plan to wear to the Giller gala?

I did not go to my high school prom or my university grad. My first wedding dress was second-hand, and someone gave me an old-lady dress with sequins for my next wedding. I have a fairy god-niece who works in the foreign service and knows what to do at a gala, and she is taking me shopping in Montreal for something that will make up for it all. She says we’ll know it when we find it.

What would you do with the prize money and how would you celebrate if you won?

I’d go to the Arctic and take my husband to Edinburgh. We’d slurp snails and champagne and I’d get back to work on my next book knowing we could pay the rent for another while.

David Bergen, who lives in Winnipeg, is nominated for “The Matter With Morris” (Phyllis Bruce Books/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.):

Age: 53 years and 10 months

Hometown: Winnipeg

Describe your nominated book in one sentence:

Middle-aged Morris Schutt looks for deliverance in reading, writing letters, and women.

What do you plan to wear to the Giller gala?

The same thing Morris would wear, a Hugo Boss suit from Harry Rosen.

What would you do with the prize money and how would you celebrate if you won?

Travel to a warm place and work on my next book.

 

Alexander MacLeod, who lives in Dartmouth, N.S., is nominated for “Light Lifting” (Biblioasis):

Age: 38

Hometown: Dartmouth, N.S.

Describe your nominated book in one sentence:

Lots of very tired people with sore feet.

What do you plan to wear to the awards gala?

Standard issue tux. But my wife’s dress should rock the house.

What would you do with the prize money and how would you celebrate if you won?

I’d ask for it in loonies and then make big teetering piles like Scrooge McDuck. We’d keep the celebration in house, but it would be a packed house, full of old friends and family.

Sarah Selecky, who lives in Toronto, is nominated for “This Cake is for the Party” (Thomas Allen Publishers):

Age: 36

Hometown: Hanmer, Ont.

Describe your nominated book in one sentence:

Lisa Foad said it best: These are stories about the stories people tell themselves.

What do you plan to wear to the Giller gala?

My dress is a gorgeous piece of wearable art by Cathy McDayter at Magpie Designs. So. Much. Fun.

What would you do with the prize money and how would you celebrate if you won?

I would celebrate by going someplace really, really quiet. And then I’d write with it.

Johanna Skibsrud, who lives in Montreal, is nominated for

“The Sentimentalists” (Gaspereau Press):

Age: 30

Hometown: Pictou County, N.S.

Describe your nominated book in one sentence:

An exploration of the complexities of family relationships, where long-buried memories of the Vietnam War provide a way for father and daughter to better understand their past, and themselves.

What do you plan to wear to the Giller gala?

A borrowed Oscar de la Renta.

What would you do with the prize money and how would you celebrate if you won?

Pay off my student loans! Also...Travel from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-Siberian railway.

Organizations: Toronto hotel, Canadian Press, Anansi Press Globe and Mail HarperCollins Publishers Hugo Boss Thomas Allen Publishers Gaspereau Press

Geographic location: Montreal, Canada, Dartmouth Arctic Edinburgh Winnipeg Toronto Pictou County Vietnam Moscow Beijing

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