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May the coverage begin

It’s only two days after the Governor General’s Awards shortlists were announced, and media coverage has already been plentiful. The Toronto Star‘s Philip Marchand weighs in on the lack of overlap between this year’s GG and Scotiabank Giller shortlists, noting the frequency of the phenomenon — it also happened in 1997 and 1994 — and citing the release of a large number of books that were great but not too great as the cause of it this year, while shining a spotlight on only one of them — A Perfect Night to Go to China by David Gilmour, chosen ostensibly for its author’s status as the only veteran novelist on the list who was born and raised in Canada.

Over at The Globe and Mail, Michael Posner approaches the shortlists’ lack of intersecting books in a more realistic way, citing the subjectivity (but not the politics) involved in selecting a nation’s greatest books for any given year. Posner devotes web space to all English fiction finalists but Golda Fried and reports on lessons learned by novelist, GG English fiction juror, and Globe columnist Russell Smith. “You know what a grump I am about Canadian literature,” said Smith on Monday. “I thought this would be my opportunity to find out what was wrong with it.” Instead, Posner reports Smith saying that the problem was “how good so many of the books were.”

The CBC Arts website also has what reads like a puffed-up list of all books nominated. So far, no one has really owned up to the politics of shortlists. Will the realist in the audience please stand up?

Related links:
Click here for Marchand’s piece in The Toronto Star
Click here for Posner’s piece in The Globe and Mail
Click here for the piece on CBC.ca