My Crystal Ball is Defective
by Tricia Dower
Two out of five. That’s all I got right trying to guess the Giller Prize short list. Ondaatje and York. Maybe I should have read more than one book.
The list was announced on Tuesday: Elizabeth Hay for Late Nights on Air, Michael Ondaatje for Divisadero, Daniel Poliquin for A Secret Between Us (translated by Donald Winkler), M. G. Vassanji for The Assassin’s Song, and Alissa York for Effigy.
I was surprised the jury chose another translation, as there was much moaning and groaning over the two on last year’s short list. The Giller is awarded for an English language book and although a translation, in this case from French to English, qualifies, it’s a filtered version of the original. If it wins, do author and translator share the $40,000 prize equally? (I should properly be calling it the Scotiabank Giller Prize, but it lacks a certain grace, as does the Save-On-Foods Arena here in
I won’t even attempt to postulate on the winner. If you’re into it, a Guess the Giller contest open to the public is being run through 20 library systems across
The Final Giller Five, clockwise from upper left: York, Hay (credit John W. MacDonald), Poliquin, Vassanji (credit Philip Cheung for The Globe and Mail), and Ondaatje.