How I love it when the Giller longlist is out! The air buzzes with excitement as enthusiastic readers and authors impatiently wait for the final night, November 8, to arrive, when the winner will be announced during a gala ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto.
After I had posted my article in May suggesting that it was about time to change the way literary prizes are awarded, by actually involving the readers;
I couldn’t be happier to learn that this year readers would nominate their own choice from a list of all the eligible books;
For the first time in the history of the Giller, the public was invited to help choose a nominee for the prize. I never imagined, however, that a book would make it on the longlist just because family, friends and neighbors campaigned for the author.
“Myrna Dey’s debut novel, ‘Extensions’ is among 17 books in the running for the year’s fiction award. Dey credited a vast network of friends and a facebook campaign by her daughter in Edmonton with pushing her over the top.”
Rather disappointing, since that was totally unexpected. I am still a great advocate of readers choosing their favorite books, but to be fair to all, perhaps we should come up with a different procedure. Maybe insist that those who vote must have read a certain number of the books on the list first, for a less biased opinion. Maybe have two juries on call, one made up of readers and one of literary professionals. All that is left for me to say now is I wish the jury gets it right this year.