In what is always an early harbinger of how Canada’s richest literary prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, will eventually shake out, the three-person jury for the 2009 edition has been named.
This year’s jury is comprised of novelist and short-story writer Alistair MacLeod, novelist Russell Banks, and historian Victoria Glendinning. For the first time in 16 years, the jury consists of only one Canadian “ MacLeod. Banks is American and Glendinning is from the U.K.
This will be MacLeod’s third time on the jury; he was part of the 2000 jury, which notoriously chose two co-winners, Anil’s Ghost by Michael Ondaatje and Mercy Among the Children by David Adams Richards, and he was on the 2004 jury, which awarded the prize to Alice Munro’s Runaway.
If you subscribe to the idea that when you pick a prize jury, you pick the winner, today’s announcement looks like good news for Lisa Moore, a fellow Maritimer like MacLeod, whose new novel, February, is due out this spring. All three jurors tend toward naturalism, which is bad news for more experimental writers (sorry, Lisa Foad; regrets, Stuart Ross). It’s also a cinch that Margaret Atwood’s new novel, due out this fall, will make an appearance on this year’s shortlist.
Of course, prognostications such as these are a mug’s game, so this Quillblogger assumes no responsibility for any losses due to improvident bets made at such an early stage.