Five Canadians on long list for Shields prize


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Five Canadians, including last year’s winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, are on the first-ever long list for the US$150,000 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction.

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Five Canadians, including last year’s winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, are on the first-ever long list for the US$150,000 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction.

Suzette Mayr, who won the Giller for The Sleeping Car Porter, and Tsering Yangzom Lama, shortlisted for the 2022 Giller for We Measure the Earth with Our Bodies, are joined on the Carol Shields Prize long list by Francine Cunningham (God Isn’t Here Today), Emma Hooper (We Should Not Be Afraid of the Sky) and Chelene Knight (Junie).

Mayr’s novel is the story of a black, gay porter working Canadian railroads in the 1920s. Lama’s debut novel is about a Tibetan’s family’s journey in exile. Cunningham’s book is a collection of dark, irreverent and poignant short stories. Hooper’s novel, set during the Roman Empire, is a tale of young women abducted by soldiers. Knight’s novel is set in a black and immigrant neighbourhood in Vancouver in the 1930s a features the coming of age of a jazz singer’s daughter. Mayr and Cunningham live in Alberta, Lama and Knight live in B.C. and Hooper, who lives in the U.K., is from Alberta.

The Carol Shields Prize is for women writers from Canada or the United States. Prize money for the first two years is made possible by BMO’s donation of US$200,000 for 2023 and 2024. The 15-book long list was chosen from among more than 250 eligible entries.

A five-book short list will be announced April 6, and the winner will be announced May 4.

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A Zoom reception on Thursday will give members of the literary community the chance to meet two emerging Manitoba authors and the established authors who are mentoring them through the Manitoba Writers’ Guild’s Sheldon Oberman Mentorship Program.

Anne Caprice Claros-Ristau’s poetry has been published in journals and anthologies and in last year’s Writes of Spring section in the Free Press. She will be mentored by Angeline Schellenberg, author of three books of poetry, including the Manitoba Book Award-winning Tell Them It Was Mozart.

Katherine Westwood, a lover of horror, thrillers, mysteries, manga and literary fiction, is the prose emerging writer. She’ll be mentored by Donna Besel, whose short fiction has received a number of awards and whose memoir The Unravelling: Incest and the Destruction of a Family was a bestseller.

For a link to join in the Zoom event, email

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After reaching the short list of the Amazon First Novel Award for her debut, Liz Harmer will discuss her new novel, Strange Loops (Knopf Canada), at 7 p.m. on Thursday at McNally Robinson Booksellers’ Grant Park location.

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Harmer’s novel explores desire and power while focusing on a pair of twins “locked in a repeating loop of complex, destructive emotions.” The Hamilton-raised author currently lives in California.

She’ll discuss the novel with Winnipeg writer Seyward Goodhand, whose short-story collection Even That Wildest Hope was a finalist for both the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book at the Manitoba Book Awards.

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The Manitoba Writers’ Guild continues its spring book launch season tomorrow with Anna Stein and her novel The Black of the Room, followed by Roxane Anderson Saturday, March 25 with Moving the Flood.

Stein, who graduated from the University of Manitoba with a degree in psychology, takes inspiration from the real-life sensory deprivation research that was carried out in psychology departments across North America in the 1950s. In her novel, her protagonist is a graduate student and research assistant who learns that something’s not right in her lab.

On March 25 the Guild will present Anderson’s book, an investigation into Red River flooding. After her land along the river flooded for the first time in 2009 (after staying above water in the great floods of the past two centuries) Anderson began her research into regional flood history.

The launches run 2-3:30 p.m. at the Artspace boardroom, at 100 Arthur Street.

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