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Zalika Reid-Benta to chair 2021 Giller jury

Zalika Reid-Benta (Alia Youssef)

What the 2021 literary awards calendar will look like is anybody’s guess, but the Scotiabank Giller Prize is pressing forward, announcing a jury of five fiction writers. The jury, chaired by Zalika Reid-Benta, is comprised of Tash Aw, Megan Gail Coles, Joshua Ferris, and Joshua Whitehead.

It’s a notably youthful group (each member is less than 50), but one with much collective experience on the literary prize circuit, featuring finalists for the Writers’ Trust for Fiction, Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, and the Giller among them.

The longlist will be announced in St. John’s, Newfoundland, in early September; the shortlist in Toronto later in September; and the winner at a televised black-tie dinner in November. Plans are, of course, tentative, and will evolve to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

Books with publication dates between Oct. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, are currently eligible for submission. The deadline to submit books published in this window is Feb. 12.

More about the individual jury members follows.

Tash AwTash Aw
The Malaysian lawyer turned novelist won the O. Henry Prize in 2013 for his short story “Sail.” He is based in London.

Megan Gail Coles

(David Howells)

Megan Gail Coles
A Giller finalist for her novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, Coles lives in St. John’s.

David FerrisJoshua Ferris
The author, based in New York City, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2014 for his novel To Rise Again at a Decent Hour.

Zalika Reid BentaZalika Reid-Benta
The Toronto author’s book Frying Plantain won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for a debut short-fiction collection.

Joshua Whitehead

The author, who hails from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, was a Governor General’s Literary Awards finalist for his novel Jonny Appleseed.