Author and Telegram editorial page editor Russell Wangersky reads from his book of short stories “Whirl Away” during its launch at the Ship Pub in November 2011. “Whirl Away” has been longlisted for this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize.
— Telegram file photo by Keith Gosse
Telegram editorial page editor Russell Wangersky has been named to the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist — for the second time — for “Whirl Away,” a collection of short stories published by Thomas Allen Publishers.
“It takes a while to sink in,” Wangersky said. “One of the problems is it’s such a key part of publishing in Canada. It’s a blessing and a curse — but mostly a blessing.”
The Giller Prize is among the most prestigious and lucrative literary prizes in Canada.
The $50,000 annual award goes to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. Each other finalist gets $5,000.
This year, the jury — novelist/screenwriter Roddy Doyle, bestselling author Gary Shteyngart and Anna Porter, founder of Key Porter Books — read 142 submissions, narrowing them down to 13.
Other books on the longlist are “Y” by Marjorie Celona, “Our Daily Bread” by Lauren Davis, “My Life Among the Apes” by Cary Fagan, “419” by Will Ferguson, “Dr. Brinkley’s Tower” by Robert Hough, “One Good Hustle” by Billie Livingston, “The Sweet Girl” by Annabel Lyon, “Inside” by Alix Ohlin, “Everybody Has Everything” by Katrina Onstad, “The Emperor of Paris” by C. S. Richardson, “The Imposter Bride” by Nancy Richler, and “Ru” by Kim Thuy.
“Whirl Away” is Wangersky’s book of fictitious stories about people who are broken and complex; some of them based on news stories or people’s reaction to them.
“They’re in situations where they spin until they’re finally, completely outside their comfort zone,” Wangersky has said of his characters.
Wangersky’s first collection of short stories, “The Hour of Bad Decisions,” was long-listed for the Giller prize in 2006, along with the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
His other books include “Burning Down the House,” based on his experience as a volunteer firefighters, and “The Glass Harmonica,” a novel.
The latter won the 2010 BMO Winterset Award.
“It’s the type of writing that I love,” Wangersky said of short stories. “It’s so different from novel-writing, in that you can hold the whole idea of the story in your head all at once.”
The Giller Prize finalists will be announced Oct. 1, and the winner will be named Oct. 30.