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Boyden, Messud land on Giller longlist that also contains some surprises

The awards season is officially underway with this morning’s announcement of the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.

The list includes the fall’s most buzzed about Canadian novel (Joseph Boyden’s The Orenda), as well as past nominees Lynn Coady, Wayne Johnston, Lisa Moore, and Michael Winter (who was previously longlisted for his 2007 novel, The Architects Are Here). Penguin Random House Canada imprints account for six of the 13 titles, with HarperCollins Canada and House of Anansi Press each receiving three nominations, and Halifax’s Invisible Publishing receiving its first-ever nomination for Elisabeth de Mariaffi’s short-story collection, How to Get Along with Women.

Also a first, Wayne Grady appears on the list twice, as translator of Louis Hamelin’s novel October 1970 and for his debut novel, Emancipation Day.

Absent from the list are two titles shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize: Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries and Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being. Also not on the list is the season’s other CanLit blockbuster: Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam. (Atwood is a member of this year’s Giller jury, so the novel is not eligible for the prize.)

Given the presence of many past nominees and established authors, the list could be construed as conservative compared to recent years. Yet the jury also found room for a pair of short-story collections (including Lynn Coady’s Hellgoing) as well as newcomers De Mariaffi, Craig Davidson, and Dan Vyleta. Claire Messud and Dennis Bock are also nominated for the first time.

The complete longlist is below:

  • Going Home Again by Dennis Bock (HarperCollins Canada)
  • The Orenda by Joseph Boyden (Hamish Hamilton Canada)
  • Hellgoing by Lynn Coady (House of Anansi Press)
  • Cataract City by Craig Davidson (Doubleday Canada)
  • How to Get Along with Women by Elisabeth de Mariaffi (Invisible Publishing)
  • Extraordinary by David Gilmour (Patrick Crean Editions)
  • Emancipation Day by Wayne Grady (Doubleday Canada)
  • October 1970 by Louis Hamelin; Wayne Grady, trans. (Anansi)
  • The Son of a Certain Woman by Wayne Johnston (Knopf Canada)
  • The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (Knopf Canada)
  • Caught by Lisa Moore (Anansi)
  • The Crooked Maid by Dan Vyleta (HarperCollins Canada)
  • Minister Without Portfolio by Michael Winter (Hamish Hamilton Canada)

The Giller shortlist will be announced Oct. 8, with the winner being named Nov. 5. This year’s jury comprises Atwood, novelist Esi Edugyan (winner or the 2011 Giller for Half-Blood Blues), and Brooklyn-based novelist Jonathan Lethem (Dissident Gardens).