Initially, I was thrilled to be asked to join the Shadow Giller jury this year (2020) for the first time. And then, as soon as I accepted the honour, I wondered why on earth I said yes. It's not the reading of dozens of Canadian books that I find daunting. I LOVE CanLit and read a lot of it every year. What troubles me is singling out one book as the best.
There is no such thing as a best book. It's like choosing a best flower or a best child. I'm an appreciator with lots of love to spread around. I read voraciously and my favourite books number in the hundreds.
My previous experience as a book juror was for the Alberta Readers Choice Awards. Our jury had only to narrow down a selection of eligible titles to five, and then voting was opened to the public. In that case, I felt confident that any of the five authors deserved to win.
So this Shadow Giller thing will be a super-dooper challenge for me. Fortunately, there are other women on the shadow jury, Naomi, Penny and Kate, and we will be working together on this project. You can find out more about who we are on the Shadow Giller website. What we will be doing is making our own longlist predictions before September 8, which is when the official longlist will be announced. I believe we will consider the books on the official longlist and come up with our own shortlist before the real one is announced on October 5. Finally, we will choose our own winner before the official Scotiabank Giller Prize winner is announced on November 9, 2020.
The Shadow Giller project is just for fun, and for the love of this literature. No author will be awarded $100,000 on our say-so. The folks who DO have the power (and of course a much harder job) are on the official Giller jury. You can find out who these illustrious people are (and more about the prize) on the Scotiabank Giller Prize website.
I plan to post reviews of eligible titles and other Giller-related stuff daily for the next couple of months, leading into the official longlist and shortlist announcements. You can follow me on Twitter @ReadingLindy and on Instagram @nightcoyotes and there's also a Shadow Giller Facebook page.
Click on the Shadow Giller tag to see my subsequent posts on this topic.