The 2015 Shadow Giller winner is…


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…Martin John, by Anakana Schofield.

First a note on this year’s judging. I sampled all five short list titles but my medical condition meant I finished none and did not take part in the balloting. Again this year, each juror was given 100 points to disperse and here were the results:

Kim — Archibald 40, Schofield 35, Cusk 10, O’Neill 9, Alexis 6

Alison — Schofield 24, Alexis 20, Cusk 20, Archibald 19, O’Neill 17

Trevor — O’Neill 30, Schofield 25, Cusk 20, Archibald 15, Alexis 10

Totals: Schofield 84, Archibald 74, O’Neill 56 , Cusk 50, Alexis 36

My observation would be that it was an evenly matched bunch, with no one title rising above the others. We opted to go with the Schofield because both Trevor and Kim said they were happy with it as a choice.

You can find Kim’s full review here — here’s an excerpt that I think captures her thoughts:

If I’m making the book sound a bit oppressive, I don’t mean to. The serious nature of the crimes committed here (none of which, by the way, are ever trivialised) are lightened by humour. The prose is ripe with witty remarks and ridiculously funny, if absurd, situations, so much so that you can’t help but feel a little empathy for Martin John. Yes, he’s manipulative, yes, he’s a liar, yes, he harms others, but somewhere along the line you realise it could all be stopped if he received the right treatment, for Martin John is not normal.

And Trevor had this to say: I wouldn’t mind if this one won, and it battled for the first spot on my own list. On the one hand, it was the most compelling read, and the compulsion to keep reading was helped by the streamlined style as we go through the fragmented thoughts of a sexual offender and those who must associate with him.

With that, we turn things over to the Real Jury. They have shown a taste for the experimental in their choices so far — who knows how that will play out next Tuesday.


15 Responses to “The 2015 Shadow Giller winner is…”

  1. Guy Savage Says:

    Coincidence: I just bought this on the strength of Kim’s review. Couldn’t resist.


  2. Naomi Says:

    Good choice!


  3. Dee O'Brien Says:

    Kevin, hope you get much better soon. Thanks for posting this. You and your colleagues are very helpful to me in making enjoyable interesting reading choices. Currently I’m reading “Beyond the Beautiful Forevers” but have Schofield’s book on my list.


  4. Lisa Hill Says:

    What I’ve always liked about the Shadow Giller is that it’s transparent: we know the reasons for the judges’ choice, and I’ve had plenty of good reading from your selections.
    I’m sorry to hear that you are still poorly. My best wishes are with you and yours, Lisa


  5. Sheila O'Brien Says:

    This is a very compelling review. I would not ordinarily be drawn to a book about a sex offender, but Kim makes a very good case for both reading this book, and for having it win the Giller Prize. Thank you again, Shadow Giller . Let’s hope the Real Giller jury agrees with you.


  6. Dave Margoshes Says:

    Looks like the shadow jury blew it – not so much by not picking the actual winner, but by placing the book that actually won last in your scoring. Has the shadow jury ever been that far off before? I think it’s missing your inestimable touch, Kevin – get better!


    • KevinfromCanada Says:

      Ha ha.. Yes it is the first time the Real winner was ranked last on our list. Obviously the device works for some and not for others. He won the Writers’ Trust as well, so we really are out in the wilderness this year. Strange things happen.


      • Dave Margoshes Says:

        Well, both books (Martin John and Fifteen Dogs) are excellent (the other 3 not so much). It just goes to show the toss-up any award really is. Change the jury, you likely change the result.


  7. Deirdre Says:

    Just checking on you, Kevin … Sterkte (wishing you “strength” as they say over here in NL)! There’s a gap in my blog reading right now – your voice!


  8. james b chester Says:

    I’d love to be on one of these “Shadow Juries” sometime. I really looks like fun to me.


  9. annelogan17 Says:

    Kevin! I’m sorry I haven’t commented lately, but glad to see you posting. I love seeing your Giller predictions, I really should have used your blog to read up on the books before I hosted the Giller Light party!


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