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Suzette Mayr one of five finalists for $150K (U.S.) Carol Shields Prize for Fiction

Giller-winning novelist Suzette Mayr is one of five authors shortlisted for the inaugural Carol Shields Prize for Fiction.

The U.S. $150,000 award, 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.

The shortlisted authors are:

The shortlisted authors were chosen from a longlist of 15 books announced in March. Mayr was one of five Canadians on the longlist. The selection of books for this year’s award are being made by a jury comprised of Canadian authors Anita Rau Badami, Merilyn Simonds, and katherena vermette, and American authors Monique Truong and Crystal Wilkinson.

“This extraordinary shortlist illuminates all that can be accomplished with the freedom of limitless imagination. Swept into the worlds created by these writers, mesmerized by their stories, we were truly blown away by their technical and artistic virtuosity,” the jury said in a press release.

The winner of the prize will be announced on May 4 at Ann Patchett’s bookstore Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee. Each runner up will receive U.S. $12,500. The winner will also receive a writer’s residency with the Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland and Labrador.

So far, organizers have been pleased with the attention the cross-border prize – the largest for women and non-binary writers – is making in its inaugural year.

We were really, really delighted by the coverage that we’ve received right across Canada and the U.S.,” said CEO Alexandra Skoczylas.

In addition the significant prize purse, the Carol Shields Prize is also working on establishing 11 writing residency programs, five in Canada and six in the U.S., to support an even greater number of women and non-binary writers.

We like to say we’re more than just a prize; we’ve added in the mentorships so we can support a wider group of people,” Skoczylas said. 

One of the residency programs is the Fogo Island residency for the winner of the prize. Details for the remaining residency programs, which are being developed in partnership with other organizations, are still being finalized, Skoczylas said.