This year, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, which recognizes the best Canadian novel or short story collection with an annual prize of $25,000, turns 20. To mark two decades of Canlit achievment, Chatelaine asked nominees from 1996 to 2016 for their all-time favourite works of home-grown fiction. Click below to see who loves what — and the books you’ll be ordering ASAP. (Hint: Reading Mavis Gallant is basically a patriotic duty.)
This year’s winners will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony in Toronto on November 2.
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Michael Helm is a three-time Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize nominee, including a nod this year for After James, a genre-bender that combines gothic horror, a detective plot, and science-fiction.
Helm’s pick: “The idea of great art is problematic. Some books are formally conservative — Alice Munro’s books are dead-on realist story collections. Others seem to have found whole new forms: What’s Anne Carson’s The Autobiography of Red or Michael Ondaatje’s Coming Through Slaughter (both are usually called novels)? And how to compare books read in translation — Hubert Aquin’s Prochain épisode — from one of our so many languages? So much is subject to chance. Very likely the greatest book is still out there and I don’t yet know it, even as it already knows me. But my pick, today, anyway is The Selected Stories of Mavis Gallant.”