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Longlist announced for inaugural $150K (U.S.) Carol Shields Prize for Fiction

Chelene Knight (Jon McRae); Emma Hooper (Sean Maylon); Francine Cunningham; Suzette Mayr (Tonya Callaghan); Tsering Yangzom Lama (Paige Critcher)

Three years after the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction was created, the longlist for the inaugural $150,000 (U.S.) award has been announced.

Five of the 15 titles are by Canadian authors, and three are published by independent Canadian presses.

The longlisted Canadian authors are: Francine Cunningham for God Isn’t Here Today (Invisible Publishing); Chelene Knight for Junie (Book*hug Press), Emma Hooper for We Should Not Be Afraid of the Sky (Penguin Canada), Tsering Yangzom Lama for We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies (McClelland & Stewart); and Suzette Mayr for her Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning The Sleeping Car Porter (Coach House Books).

The five-book shortlist for this year’s prize will be announced on April 6, with the winner announced on May 4 at Ann Patchett’s bookstore Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.

The longlist was chosen from more than 250 eligible books submitted. “Exceptionally diverse in its writers and stories, its breadth and depth of subject, style, and form, this inaugural longlist is a truly stellar representation of all the amazing women and non-binary writers currently sharing their voices in Canada and the United States,” the jury said in a statement.

In addition to the significant monetary prize, the winner will also receive a residency at the Fogo Island Inn. The four finalists will each receive $12,500 (U.S.) .

“After a decade of planning and fundraising, the three of us are thrilled to see the longlist of nominees,” prize co-founders Janice Zawerbny, Don Oravec, and Susan Swan said in a release.

The longlisted titles are:

The prize for literary excellence, named after the American-born and Canadian-based author Carol Shields, is designed to acknowledge, celebrate, and promote the best works of fiction written by women and non-binary writers in Canada and the United States. This year’s longlist, shortlist, and winner will be chosen by a jury comprised of Canadian authors Anita Rau Badami, Merilyn Simonds, and katherena vermette, and American authors Monique Truong and Crystal Wilkinson.

BMO, the flagship sponsor of the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, is donating US$200,000 to the prize this year and in 2024.

Submissions for this year’s prize opened early last year.