In the race that is the fall literary awards season, Miriam Toews finds herself holding an early lead. A little more than two weeks after being put on the long list for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, her novel All My Puny Sorrows has been named a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, making her the only author nominated for both awards.
Ms. Toews won the prize in 2008 for The Flying Troutmans. Her latest novel, which tells the story of two sisters, one of whom is battling crippling depression, is part of an eclectic short list that includes work by emerging authors and established writers, short story collections and decade-spanning novels, published by both independent and multinational houses.
Also on the list is André Alexis, a former finalist, for Pastoral, about a young priest living in a rural Ontario town; Carrie Snyder for her debut novel, Girl Runner, about a 104-year-old former Olympic distance runner reflecting on her life; Steven Galloway for The Confabulist, a novel that fictionalizes the life of Harry Houdini and the man who may (or may not) have killed him; and K.D. Miller for her third collection of short stories, All Saints. All finalists take home $2,500, with the eventual winner receiving a total of $25,000.
The finalists, announced during a news conference at Ben McNally Books in Toronto, were chosen by a jury comprised of novelist Neil Bissoondath, poet George Murray, and past winner Helen Humphreys. They considered 127 books submitted by 52 publishers before setting the short list.
The three finalists for the $10,000 Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, which recognizes the author of the best short story published in a Canadian literary journal or magazine, were also announced: Tyler Keevil for Sealskin, Lori McNulty for Monsoon Season, and Clea Young for Juvenile. They were chosen by a jury comprised of writers Craig Davidson and Saleema Nawaz, a past winner of the prize, and critic Steven W. Beattie.
The winners of both prizes will be announced on Nov. 4.