The 2018 Shadow Giller Winner


We are thrilled to reveal that the Shadow Giller winner for 2018 is:

Songs for the Cold of Heart by Eric DuPont

Congratulations to author Eric DuPont, translator Peter McCambridge and Publisher QC Fiction!

I think we were all won over by this amazing book with all its stories within stories and echos of itself. It’s a big book, but every sentence and every word entertains. The official Giller jury citation is as follows: “Once upon a time in Quebec there was a girl named Madeleine. A tiny red headed waif with only a suitcase in her possession steps off a train in a frozen village, and a strapping Quebec man falls head over heels in love with her strangeness. A baby is born from this union that is so big, it manages to kill both its parents in childbirth. As magnificent a work of irony and magic as the boldest works of Gabriel Garcí¬a Márquez, but with a wholly original sensibility that captures the marvellous obsessions of the Quebecois zeitgeist of the twentieth century. It is without any doubt, a tour de force. And the translation is as exquisite as a snowflake.

An excerpt from Marcie’s review: “Lost earrings and lost arrows. Trick knives and silver spoons. Snowstorms and air raids. Flapjacks and upside-down pineapple cake. Gold crosses and amber barrettes. Fireworks and torpedoes, gunshots and fisticuffs. Sugars and fevers. Eggs on roses and roses behind ears. Tenors and letters. Mary Tyler Moore and Leonard Cohen. The Thorn Birds and The Origins of Totalitarianism. Outdoor operas and bottled schnapps. Chihuahuas and zebras. Skyscrapers and caskets. Stuffed animals and smuggled paintings. Nativity scenes and restaurant chains. Emissaries and mirrors.

It’s not just a complete meal, it’s an entire menu.

An excerpt from Naomi’s review: “Songs for the Cold of Heart is made up of stories within stories. Stories that go back to the turn of the 20th century, stories that take place all over the world, stories that dazzle and shock – love, ambition, adventure, betrayal, tragedy, family, home – stories with echos and parallels running through them – teal coloured eyes, bass clef birthmarks, recurring names, paintings of the Virgin’s death, mustachioed Popes – and stories that entertain, each one the antidote to the last.


How did we choose our winner?

As per usual, each juror was given 100 points to disperse and these were sent to Mrs KfC, who acted as our independent adjudicator. The results were as follows:

Kim: Dupont-30, Edugyan-17, deWitt-18, Lim-25, Heti-10

Marcie: DuPont-25, Edugyan-22, deWitt-19, Lim-17, Heti-17

Naomi: DuPont-35, Edugyan-19, deWitt-18, Lim-14, Heti-14

Alison: DuPont-24, Edugyan-21, deWitt-21, Lim-17, Heti-17


A unanimous vote for Songs for the Cold of Heart – and it wasn’t even close. This is the first time since I have joined the jury that the results have been so clear-cut, with no need to discuss or negotiate.

Now we wait to see whether the real Giller Prize jury agree with us. They will name their official winner on Monday, 19 November. For specific timings, please visit the official website.

What do you think of our choice? Have you read Songs for the Cold of Heart, or do you plan to?


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23 Responses to “The 2018 Shadow Giller Winner”

  1. Lisa Hill Says:

    I certainly plan to, but at the moment All The Usual Suspects are charging $45+ for it, so I’m going to have to wait until it comes out in a Kindle edition, I think…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dianne Says:

      Try Baraka, the publisher, where you can order Songs for the Cold of Heart and two other 2018 titles for that same price. Certainly better than the “usual suspects” one of which told me they were “just in the business of selling books.”


    • Naomi Says:

      It is worth the wait, Lisa!


    • kimbofo Says:

      I paid £24 for my paperback version 😫 Really hope it wins the real Giller as that may encourage the publisher to produce an affordable digital edition and perhaps even a general release paperback.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony Says:

    A wonderful book, and I hope it wins the real prize, too 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sheila O'Brien Says:

    Well done Shadow Jury! I bought this book this afternoon once I read your comment. Hopefully the real Jury will come to the same conclusion.
    Thank you for keeping his tradition alive.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Sheila O'Brien Says:

    Well done Shadow Jury! I bought this book this afternoon once I read your comment. Hopefully the real Jury will come to the same conclusion.
    Thank you for keeping his tradition alive.


  5. Tredynas Days Says:

    I haven’t read the others, so can’t compare, but SFTCOH was, as Tony says, wonderful

    Liked by 3 people

  6. lauratfrey Says:

    Hooray!! I’m singing from the rooftops about this book. I just hope the publisher is ready to do a big print run… and and get ebook/ audio going!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Dianne Says:

    I think you should add Lim’s scores again.


  8. Cathy746books Says:

    This sounds so good I just have to check it out sometime – sounds epic!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Kate (Sydney) Says:

    I’ll definitely have to wait for it here in Sydney – $52!!! Sounds good though, thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Deborah Says:

    I’ve only read Washington Black, which I really enjoyed. You have gotten me interested in reading Songs for the Cold of Heart.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. pat schneider Says:

    I enjoyed all of the reviews for the 2018 Giller prize. Every year I look forward to your shadow reviews. Please know that your reading and reviews are appreciated. Pat Schneider

    Liked by 2 people

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