The 2019 Giller Prize shortlist

Catherine Coles
Coles Notes

The 2019 shortlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, easily Canada’s most prestigious literary award, was announced on Sept 30. The shortlist (and eventual winner) is juried each year by a different set of acclaimed Canadian authors. This year the jury was composed of Randy Boyagoda, Aminatta Forna, Aleksandar Hemon, Donna Bailey Nurse and José Teodoro. Here are the nominees:

Immigrant City by David Bezmozgis

Immigrant City is collection of stories about the various aspects of immigration and how it affects lives. This is award-winning author David Bezmozgis’s first story collection in more than a decade and it has been hailed as “intelligent, funny, and unfailingly sympathetic” (Toronto Star).

Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club by Megan Gail Coles

In her debut novel, Newfoundland author Megan Gail Coles uses a trendy St. John’s restaurant called the Hazel as the connection that binds a cast of emotionally wounded characters. This moody and compelling novel addresses issues of race, class, sexism and homophobia.

The Innocents by Michael Crummey

In this fifth novel from perennially Giller Prize short-listed Crummey, two orphans forage for survival on an isolated Newfoundland cove during years marked by storms and ravaging illness, before the mystery of their nature tests the limits of their bond.

Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin

In her latest novel, Ohlin paints a luminous and bittersweet portrait of two half-sisters: Lark, a filmmaker, and Robin, a pianist, Canadian residents now in New York City. As life, self-doubt, ambition and pressure tear them apart, they discover that despite the difficulties of their relationship, they can only rely on each other.

Lampedusa by Steven Price

In Lampedusa, Stephen Price, author of By Gaslight, breathes life into the last years of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, a revered Italian writer. A lyrical piece of biographical fiction, this novel is based on Tomasi’s life at the time he was writing The Leopard.

Reproduction by Ian Williams

Described as a “hilarious and poignant love story about the way families are invented”, this offbeat novel is told with the savvy of Zadie Smith, the energy of Junot Diaz, and an inventiveness all Ian Williams’ own. It is set amidst a collision of cultures banging together in one polyglot suburb of Toronto.

While mere reading-enthusiasts may not be eligible to jury the Giller, the OLA Evergreen Award gives all adult library patrons the opportunity to vote for a work of Canadian fiction or non-fiction that they have enjoyed the most this year. It is truly the readers’ choice of Canadian literary awards. The County of L&A Libraries has been promoting this year’s Evergreen nominees for several months now and voting took place during the month of September. This year, the winner for Lennox & Addington was The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson.

Visit our website at to learn more, or to place your holds on any of this year’s contending Giller Prize titles or any of the Evergreen Award nominees.


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