2015 Giller Prize shortlist

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Here’s the official Giller Prize shortlist for this year:

  • Fifteen Dogs, by Andre Alexis
  • Arvida , by Samuel Archibald
  • Outline, by Rachel Cusk
  • Daydreams of Angels, by Heather O’Neill
  • Martin John, by Anakana Schofield
  • The Shadow Jury doesn’t have much to say about the choice: except for Kim’s reading of Fifteen Dogs (which she didn’t like at all) and Alison’s reading of Outline (which she liked), none of us have read the other three. I’m a bit surprised to see two short story collections, Archibald and O’Neill.

    Now the serious work begins for the Shadow Jury. I’m hoping to get to the entire shortlist.

    6 Responses to “2015 Giller Prize shortlist”

    1. Lisa Hill Says:

      Yes, I’m a bit surprised too. The Nobel jury is responsible, I suppose. We are drowning in short story collections here in Australia…

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      • KevinfromCanada Says:

        From the descriptions, I think I’d prefer the third story collection. Now it is worth noting that Archibald’s is a translation from the French, which is something the Giller should be recognizing.

        You’ll note I have changed my tagline. I do think Penguin Random House had worthwhile titles but an author-dominated jury probably doesn’t like their “bigness” in the field and tilted to small house publishers.

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      • KevinfromCanada Says:

        I hold MFA programs responsible for the short story collection tsunami — despite the number available, they still don’t seem to sell well. I actually like short stories but am daunted by the prospect of having to explore so many to find a good one.

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    2. Lisa Hill Says:

      I don’t mind one or two, but they have to be exceptional ( it’s rare for every story in a collection to be exceptional) – and I want to read other things in between. I’ve read all of Balzac’s La Comedie Humaine, but I did it over a number of years.
      Writers love writing short stories, apparently, but I don’t know any of my reading friends who read ’em…

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    3. David Says:

      Ah, now I was quite excited to see two short story collections on the shortlist. Of the nine longlisted titles I’ve read I’d put both ‘Daydreams of Angels’ and ‘Confidence’ in my top five, and am looking forward to reading ‘Arvida’, but then I love short stories. Incidentally, ‘Outline’ reads almost like a linked story collection too.

      In response to Lisa’s comment – I actually wish there were more Australian short story collections! Granted they’re hard to get hold of in the UK but this year I could count the Australian short story collections I’m aware of on two hands (‘Hot Little Hands’, ‘Six Bedrooms’, ‘Crow’s Breath’, ‘An Astronaut’s Life’, ‘Peripheral Vision’, ‘Almost Sincerely’, ‘When There’s Nowhere Else to Run’ and that’s it, though I’m sure there may be more). Of those I’ve only so far read ‘Six Bedrooms’ which is a really strong collection, but I’ll hopefully get to a few of the others.

      Anyway, the Giller shortlist: it reminds me very much of the shortlists for the Goldsmiths Prize where they’re looking to reward innovative, experimental writing. I can’t say that’s entirely to my tastes, but I’m glad ‘The Winter Family’ and ‘If I Fall, If I Die’ fell by the wayside – two novels that, whilst having their merits, didn’t to my mind belong on the longlist in the first place (and certainly not when wonderful books like Sara Tilley’s ‘Duke’, Kim Echlin’s ‘Under the Visible Life’ and Mark Anthony Jarman’s ‘Knife Party at the Hotel Europa’ were left off).

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      • KevinfromCanada Says:

        It is no surprise to see a passionate argument for short story collections from you — you read more of them than any one I have ever known (including MFA professors).

        I agree with your comparison of this list to the Goldsmiths Prize. I think this year is more of an “authors” prize than a “readers” one, which sometimes happens when you get juries comprised totally of writers.

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