The 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist has been announced today, and we are delighted to congratulate Zoe Whittall on being shortlisted for her novel THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE (House of Anansi Press) and Gary Barwin on his nomination for YIDDISH FOR PIRATES (Random House Canada)! Selected from a longlist of 12 books, the jury members Lawrence Hill (jury chair), Jeet Heer, Kathleen Winter, Samantha Harvey and Alan Warner originally read a staggering 161 books submitted by 69 publisher imprints from every region of the country in order to reach their decision.
In THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE by Zoe Whittall, George Woodbury, an affable teacher and beloved husband and father, is arrested for sexual impropriety at a prestigious prep school. With George locked up, how do the members of his family pick up the pieces and keep living their lives? How do they defend someone they love while wrestling with the possibility of his guilt?
With exquisite emotional precision, award-winning author Zoe Whittall explores issues of loyalty, truth and the meaning of happiness through the lend of all-American family on the brink of collapse.
YIDDISH FOR PIRATES by Gary Barwin is a brilliant novel filled with Jewish takes on classic pirate tales – fights, prison escapes, and exploits on the high seas – but it’s also a tender love story. Rich with puns, colourful language, post-colonial satire and Kabbalistic hijinks, YIDDISH FOR PIRATES is also a compelling examination of mortality, memory, identity and persecution, from one of this country’s most talented writers.
YIDDISH FOR PIRATES: Across time and across continents, Gary Barwin’s novel “parrots” in an altogether new way. In a ferment of salty witticism, parroty puns and unforgettable Yiddish vocabulary, this is a novel borne not just on the wings of its feathery narrator, but on its own jubilant and alluring language; its own voice. Playful, mocking, using history with audacious abandon, Yiddish for Pirates is a resplendent enjoyment. But, literally viewed from above, the novel also admonishes us about man’s inexhaustible zeal for butchery, for incessant genocide, and for affliction. We have had animal narrators throughout literary history, but Aaron the African grey parrot, from the shoulder of his pirate master, will lift you to new heights.
THE BEST KIND OF PEOPLE: The jury found Zoe Whittall’s The Best Kind of People urgent and timely, nuanced and brave. This gripping story challenges how we hear women and girls, and dissects the self-hypnosis and fear that prevent us from speaking disruptive truth. With subversive precision and solid veracity, Whittall calls into question pervasive forms of silence and acquiescence.
The winner will be announced on November 7th, 2016. For venue and ticket information, please visit: Scotiabankgillerprize.ca.
To view the full shortlist and to read excerpts from the books, please visit www.scotiabankgillerprize.ca/finalists/2016-shortlist/.
Tomorrow Marni Jackson’s highly anticipated novel-in-stories, DON’T I KNOW YOU? launches with Flatiron Books/Amy Einhorn in North America, and we are looking forward to it! Also tonight is Marni’s book launch in Toronto – break a leg, Marni!! We know a success when we see it, here are some of the highlights so far:
What if some of the artists we feel as if we know—Neil Young, Meryl Streep, Keith Richards, Bill Murray—turned up in the course of our daily lives? On the bus, at the cottage, or for a family funeral?
This is what happens to Rose McEwan, a journalist and writer for hire who keeps having strange encounters with famous people. These interlocking stories follow her life from age 17 (when she attends a writing workshop led by a young but already philandering John Updike) through heartbroken bohemia (Joni Mitchell offers timely advice), a decade of marriage, and a zesty post-divorce phase when she embarks on a wilderness canoe trip with Taylor Swift, Leonard Cohen, and Karl Ove Knausgaard.
With wit, insight and impressive craft, Don’t I Know You? portrays a culture in which stars have invaded our psyches. Although cast with familiar names, the stories are all inventions—just as celebrity itself is a form of fiction. “Stars can only exist at the point where their public roles and our imaginations meet,” the author argues. “They may do the work, but we’re the ones who author their fame.”
“…Jackson has created entertaining fictional encounters that range from hilariously normal to confoundingly surreal.”—Booklist Review
“The lure is obvious. Rose is an endearing character and fame is an
enduring subject.” —The Toronto Star
“A writer’s life is studded with celebrity appearances in this whimsical
collection of linked stories…Jackson, a Canadian magazine journalist
making her fiction debut, finds many ingenious ways to play this game.”
“Don’t I Know You? is full of surprises in the best possible way. A
premise so unlikely you could never describe it and writing so beautiful
you could never believe it. Jackson’s prose is quicker than a mongoose,
sharper than a scalpel—and full of read-aloud sentences. She takes the
familiar and makes it fantastical and then makes it familiar again. It’s
an almost impossible achievement, yet Jackson does it again and again,
and—best of all—you never see it coming.” —Katherine Heiny, author of
Single, Carefree, Mellow
“Where have Marni Jackson’s sassy and sublime stories been all my life?
It’s safe to say that after reading Don’t I Know You? I know Bill
Murray, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Leonard Cohen, Gwyneth Paltrow, and co. so
much better (at least the Bill, Karl, Leonard, and Gloop-mistress of
Jackson’s febrile imagination). I also now know the secret yearnings of
my own small heart a little better, too.” —Zsuzsi Gartner, author of the
Giller-Prize shortlisted Better Living through Plastic Explosives
“I knew Marni Jackson first as a gifted, intrepid journalist. Now I know
her (suddenly and obviously) as a radiant new voice in fiction. Don’t I
Know You? is sexy and shrewd, a work of glaring imagination conjured
with journalistic observation and instinct.” —Terry McDonell, ASME Hall
of Fame editor, author of The Accidental Life
“There is so much to praise in this brilliant collection: Marni
Jackson’s daring and intelligence, her gentle humor and unencumbered
prose, her eye for the beautiful and hidden, and, above all, her
creation of a heroine as appealing and valiant as any I’ve encountered
in recent fiction.” —Barbara Gowdy, award-winning author of The White
Bone and Helpless
“Alternately hilarious and heartbreaking, this whip-smart debut imagines
its heroine through a series of encounters with celebrities, creating an
intimate, indelible portrait of a woman’s extraordinary life.”—Semi
Chellas, writer, co-executive producer, Mad Men
Marni will be touring, including making a visit at the Vancouver
Writers’ Festival. View the details here:
She will also be at the Kingston Writersfest. Please check out the details here: www.kingstonwritersfest.ca/festival-author/marni-jackson/
Marni Jackson interviewed with Kobo in Conversation: store.kobobooks.com/en-ca/p/zoomer
Visit Marni’s website: marnijackson.com/
Purchase the book: www.amazon.ca
Rights Sold: Flatiron Books (North America, English)
Wanna know a secret? You, too can squeal about American Girl dolls, even if you’re 30! I couldn’t contain my excitement this afternoon when I opened our early copies for The American Girl Ultimate Visual Guide, co-authored by Erin Falligant! The book is beautiful and brimming with colorful, fun, full-page spreads about all of your favorite American Girl dolls, from Beforever characters like Felicity and Molly to Girls of the Year like Grace and Caroline. The American Girl Ultimate Visual Guide published with Dorling Kindersley on September 6, 2016. Congratulations, Erin!
Erin Falligant is represented by Fiona Kenshole.
THE SEVEN PREQUELS series launches today! Happy book birthday to Sigmund Brouwer for BARRACUDA, Ted Staunton for SPEED, Eric Walters for JUNGLE LAND, and the rest of the Seven authors. The authors are touring Canada in person and on a blog tour. To follow their blog tour: Orcabook.com/seven/blogtour
The French edition of THE SEARCH FOR HEINRICH SCHLOGEL by Martha Baillie published this week on September 14, 2016 with Lemeac Editeur! The novel tells a sophisticated story with magical underpinnings about a young man who escapes the claustrophobia of small-town Germany by traveling to Canada, where he sets out on a long solo hike into the interior of Baffin Island; while he is hiking, time plays tricks on him and when he returns he discovers that thirty years have vanished and time has sped forward to 2010.
Read about Martha Baillie’s Schlogel Installation at the Koffler Gallery: www.thestar.com/entertainment/visualarts/2015/05/19/martha-baillies-novel-gets-real-world-heft-at-koffler-gallery.html
Check out the book on Lemeac Editeur’s website: www.lemeac.com/catalogue/1600-la-disparition-d-heinrich-schlogel.html?page=1
Praise and Reviews
“The use of an unreliable narrator has a point here: Baillie is turning the tables on the European, who has taken the place usually held by the “native” as specimen of study. The result is a philosophic, absorbing read on photography, the North, colonialism, ethnography, and the nature of time.” – Globe & Mail
“Taken together (book, online archive, gallery exhibit), The Search for Heinrich Schlögel achieves a kind of ethics of memory, in which what is remembered is never certain and so not owned by the person attempting to remember.” – Brick Magazine
Rights Sold: Lemeac Editeur, North America (French); Pedlar Press, Canada (English); Tin House Books, United States (English)
The first book in a new series, CLARA HUMBLE AND THE NOT-SO-SUPER POWERS tells the story of a young fourth-grader, Clara Humble, who believes she has superpowers at a time when students from rival R.R. Reginald are moving into her school for the term, and her favorite neighbor, Momo, is moving into a retirement home. With her best friend, Bradley, Clara becomes convinced that her powers can be used to put a stop to these problems. As Owlkids Books summarizes, “Told in Clara’s clever, funny, and strikingly authentic voice, this novel kicks off a new series by inviting readers into this memorable character’s inventive mind to share in her misadventures. Annotated with Clara’s comic sketches, it’s a fast-paced read with a spot-on perspective of life as a 10-year-old that kids will surely relate to.”
In a fun activity, find your super hero name and powers: www.owlkidsbooks.com/Portals/0/Clara%20Humble%20Middle%20School%20Superhero%20Acvitity.pdf
Advance Praise and Reviews
“The general feel of Clara Humble may be typical middle-grade mayhem, but with this subtly thought-provoking story, Humphrey – and Clara – have staked out their own unique comic territory.” – Quill & Quire
“A promising beginning to a new series about a spirited character who is discovering her real strengths.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Ramona Quimby meets Timmy Failure.” — Lindsey Ferrante, Collection Development, Baker & Taylor
“A good antidote to the feeling most kids (and adults!) will find familiar: that the world is out of their control… A promising beginning to a new series about a spirited character who is discovering her real strengths.”— Kirkus Reviews
“Spunky Clara Humble and her clever cartoon drawings about her feline heroine @Cat are bound to delight kids who love a school story filled with mischief, mystery and real-life problems. Kids who have graduated from the Just Grace series and are looking for more will love following Clara’s misadventures as she battles her nemesis, Bossy Becky, and deals with all kinds of challenges in her life. Can’t wait for book two!”— Phyllis Simon, Vancouver Kidsbooks
“You’ll love Clara Humble. She has a vibrant imagination, a wild spirit, and a tender heart. Fans of the Ramona Quimby books and Ivy and Bean series will delight in Clara’s passionate yet hare-brained plans to save her school from the mean kids, to stop her best friend from moving away, and to bring super hero-style justice to her elementary school.”— Erica Nikolaus, Words Worth Books
“Clever and creative—this book has the perfect mix of ‘comic’ relief and expert storytelling that tugs on all the right heart strings.”
— Arthur Slade, author, The Hunchback Assignments series
“You’re going to fall in love with Clara’s zest and energy and amazingly fun approach to life. Add a memorable story to a memorable character, and you have the perfect ingredients for a wonderful read.”— Sigmund Brouwer, author, Justine McKeen series and Seven series contributor
“Spirited and imaginative, Clara Humble’s true superpowers are found in her creative ability, the love and support of her family and friends, and her everlasting determination to right the wrongs of her fourth-grader life. Her memorable comic adventures show true heart.”— Amy Mathers, Amy’s Marathon of Books
“Whether defending her school from bitter rivals or scheming up ways to keep her friends happy, I couldn’t help rooting for Clara. Her imagination, adventurous spirit, and all-around charm drew me right in.”— Kristen Ciccarelli, Words Worth Books
Rights Sold: Owlkids Books, World