2009 Shadow Giller Jury names winner


The 2009 Shadow Giller Prize has been awarded to:

The Bishop’s Man, by Linden MacIntyre


The Shadow Jury decision was both quick and unanimous — all three jurors had this book at the top of their list. We certainly found the other shortlisted titles were worthwhile, but MacIntyre put it all together.

A summary from Trevor Berrett:

In The Bishop’s Man, Linden MacIntyre has a subtly controlled mixture of hope and despair all centralized in Father MacAskill, a lonely priest only slightly disillusioned but immensely disturbed by the sexual scandals occurring among his colleagues. What’s so wonderful is that this book can grapple with such a large event as the Catholic Church’s problems in the late twentieth century and still manage to keep the focus on one man and his struggles to reconcile the multiple tragedies of his own past — including, among other things, alcohol abuse and thoughts of suicide — in order to find some warmth in the cold and lonely setting of Creignish on Cape Breton Island.

And from KfC:

The characterization in this novel takes it beyond expectation. MacIntyre sets his book in a conventional context — priests who are sexual abusers — but his central character, Father Frank MacAskill, is not part of that crowd and that is the novel’s greatest strength. He is an aging, honest creature who got caught in a trap and can’t get out (not unlike Cape Breton lobsters) and this book underlines his dilemma.

You can find Trevor’s full review here. And mine is here — I must say that a second read of the book showed it was better than my first impression.

The Real Jury will announce their decision at the Giller gala on Nov. 10. The Shadow Jury has now spoken.

For those with access to Canadian television, there is a fair bit of Giller coverage on Bravo TV. On Saturday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. EST, a one-hour edition of Arts and Minds featuring a panel discussion with all five shortlisted authors will air — it includes a cameo appearance from Shadow Giller juror Alison Gzowski who talks about the Shadow Jury and its work. The Arts and Minds show will be repeated on Tues., Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. EST with live coverage of the Giller gala starting at 9 p.m. For those outside of Canada, CTV promises that a live web feed will be available — check either http://www.ctv.ca or the Giller site for details.

10 Responses to “2009 Shadow Giller Jury names winner”

  1. Kerry Says:

    Based on your early review, I had not expected this. Obviously, the elimination of other favorites and the re-read changed dynamics. I am glad, because it does sound like a great idea and, it now also seems, the execution was very solid as well. I am going to keep this one in mind, but I still want to read The Incident Report first. The winner cannot get all the spoils…..

    I really enjoyed your Giller coverage. This is definitely a yearly highlight. Thanks for the hard work and for highlighting authors who might otherwise go unnoticed.


  2. Rick P Says:

    Thanks for everything, Giller Jury. It helps a lot for those like me that can’t get to all the short list entries.

    Like Kerry, I was a bit surprised because your review of the Bishop’s Man was more in the range of good rather than great.

    As noted, some of the favourites didn’t make the short list so in retrospect this makes sense.


  3. Colette Jones Says:

    Well done, Shadow judges!


  4. My Favorite Lit-Blog Things: November 6, 2009 « Hungry Like the Woolf Says:

    […] Favorite Lit-Blog Things: November 6, 2009 The announcement of the Giller Shadow Jury results are up. I have enjoyed very much the Giller Shadow Jury’s open […]


  5. KevinfromCanada Says:

    The reread of The Bishop’s Man was very important to my reaction. The first time through the overlapping of the various story lines (which I still feel is a weakness in the book) very much got in the way of appreciating Father MacAskill and his angst, disillusion, dilemma. As well, the relationships of various secondary characters (family, economic, historical) are important and I was probably guilty of speeding past them. Having been through the book once, and with the knowledge in place, I was much better equipped to appreciate the Father’s character on the reread.

    I think the problem was more mine than the author’s (you’ll note from Trevor’s review that he did not have it). I suspect that I was guilty of both reading too fast and not paying as strict attention as I should.


  6. Rick P Says:

    Oout of curiousity, if Alice Munro’s book had not been withdrawn, would Shadow Giller likely have chosen it. the followup to that is do you think it would have won the Giller?


  7. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Excellent question, Rick. I can’t speak for Trevor or Alison (who are encouraged to weigh in) but I think it would have been my choice. And I do think it would have been the Real Jury’s choice. The only thing that would have perhaps changed that would be the attitude of “Alice has already won enough”. Which, of course, is the attitude that she expressed, indirectly at least, in withdrawing the book.


  8. alison Says:

    I have her book at the top of my pile to read next. I suspect it would have been my choice, given what I think of her previous work, but should know for sure shortly.


  9. maggie Says:

    Enjoyed the reviews on here. Have finished all books on the list now .
    I enjoyed Michaels, MacIntyre and Lyons equally – a very strong triple header. I would be happy to see eighter of these fine novels walk away with the Giller. I did vote for Michaels in “Guess the Giller” – felt that her portrayal of change and loss set against a world landscape had incredible depth. Also enjoyed Lyons work – both these ladies put years into their work and it shows. I was also very moved by MacIntyre’s “‘Father” having grown up Catholic on the east coast – the world and the dilemmas portrayed here were very very real to me. Of course I think Maestro Munro would have walked off with the prize had she let her name stand. And I still think Atwood should have been on there. I know she does alienate many with her dark dystopian vision and her feminism but her writing and world view is stong strong strong.
    I think people hold her to higher standreds because of her status – and of course there is that sci fic thing which not all folks take to.
    Thanks Shadows for the interesting forum and good luck with your choice.


  10. KevinfromCanada Says:

    Maggie: Thanks for your perceptive thoughts Maggie — the Shadow jurors did have a good experience with this year’s shortlist. All of the five have strengths (and weaknesses, too) which makes any final decision a difficult choice. It will be very interesting to see what the Real Jury decides on Tuesday. We’ll be watching.


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