2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist

There are 6 books on the Giller Prize shortlist this year. The Shadow Jury will be reading and reviewing these books over the course of the next 5 weeks. We will be choosing a shadow winner a few days before the official Giller Prize announcement on November 7th.


Mona Awad for her novel 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, published by Penguin Canada

My thoughts: I haven’t read this one yet, but my feeling based on other reviews I’ve read is that the writing will be good, but I may find myself feeling frustrated by the protagonist’s negative outlook on life. On the other hand, maybe not…

My review


Gary Barwin for his novel Yiddish for Pirates, published by Random House Canada

My thoughts: This may be the book I know the least about, and I think I’ll keep it that way. I’m hopeful that it will be a fun read. I mean, it’s about pirates, right?

My review


Emma Donoghue for her novel The Wonder, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

My thoughts: This is probably next on my reading list. I don’t know very much about it, but it’s Emma Donoghue, so my expectations are high (whether they should be or not).

My review


Catherine Leroux for her novel The Party Wall, published by Biblioasis International Translation Series, translated by Lazer Lederhendler

My thoughts: I’m happy to see this on the list. To find out why, see my review.


Madeleine Thien for her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada

My thoughts: I’m not surprised to see this on the list, as it is also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year. From what I’ve read so far, I’m expecting it to be a slower read, but rewarding.

My review


Zoe Whittall for her novel The Best Kind of People, published by House of Anansi Press Inc.

My thoughts: I’m reading this one now, and I can already tell you that it’s a page-turner. But how will it all end?

My review

Tell me, have you read any of these? Are there any here that you think shouldn’t be? Any that should be, but aren’t? Thoughts? Predictions?


This link will take you to CBC Books where they have compiled The Next Chapter interviews for 5 of the 6 shortlisted books.

What the jurors had to say about each of the books on the shortlist.


37 thoughts on “2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist

  1. Bibliobroads says:

    Ooh Naomi & Shadow Giller Team! what a great year for books! We’ll be following along with glee (& favourites). Wow: Julie = 20 yrs. bookseller & me, Kelly = 17yrs. (gawd, we were mere babies!) This is the kind of Giller list – exceptional title all- that truly makes us excited to recommend, talk & participate! I have read all but Barwin…so, to the books! Be well! Bibliobroads

    • Naomi says:

      This list really does look delicious, doesn’t it?
      You’re way ahead of me! Will you be reading Barwin, as well? (I won’t be so mean as to ask you to predict!)

  2. Bina says:

    Happy reading!! Those all sound pretty great and I’ve only heard of the Awad. Hope you’ll be able to recommend it. Also Yiddish for Pirates is a title made for win!!😁

  3. FictionFan says:

    I haven’t read any of them and look forward to hearing your thoughts on them. But I have to say they’re a great bunch of covers, aren’t they? I love every one of them with the exception of 13 Ways, which is a little dull. I know it shouldn’t matter especially since I mostly read on Kindle, but I’m glad there’s been a real upswing in original covers recently. I’d never choose a book purely on that basis, but a great cover definitely makes me more enthusiastic about reading the blurb…

    • Naomi says:

      I agree. If I had to choose between two equally good books, I would go for the one with the better cover.
      From this list, The Party Wall and The Wonder have my vote for best covers.

  4. roughghosts says:

    So glad to see Biblioasis make the shortlist again. 5 out of the 6 writers are female too. I’m not a huge fan of Emma Donoghue, but I will have a chance to see her interviewed live by Eleanor Wachtel when I volunteer at our Wordfest next month (I love listening to authors talk abut their work no matter what and Eleanor is such a fantastic interviewer). Zoe Whittall is taking part in the only session I bought a ticket for (rather than volunteering and taking my chances) — a late evening event called “Naughty bits”! I may run into some of the other authors when I volunteer as an Artist Liaison at the hotel.

    • Naomi says:

      It sounds like you’ve gotten yourself into a great event. I would love to be able to come hear them speak! The 6 Giller finalists are coming to Halifax at some point, but it’ll be some kind of miracle for me to be able to go.
      Have fun!!

  5. Sarah's Book Shelves says:

    I’m so excited to hear how you come out with all this! It’s so excited that you’re on the jury! I don’t know much about any of them except Fat Girl and The Wonder.

    • Naomi says:

      Thanks for your enthusiasm, Sarah! I think it’ll be a fun experience. 🙂
      I don’t know a lot about most of them myself – but that’s half the fun!

  6. TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

    Very interesting shortlist. I have The Wonder checked out from the library at the moment, and I daresay that there’s a good chance that the library will purchase the Thien once it’s released in the US, seeing how it’s got a good amount of buzz going.

  7. lauratfrey says:

    Eagerly awaiting your thoughts on The Best Kind of People. I have Do Not Say out from the library but not sure if I’ll read it. I really should return it, as there are lots of holds!

    • Naomi says:

      The pressure of the other library holds! You could always put yourself back on the list… I hope it’s good!
      I finished The Best Kind of People yesterday. It really was hard to put down, and lots of stuff to think about. Hopefully I’ll have something up next week!
      Also, what did you think of that Dorothy character? And the ending!

  8. AYearOfBooksBlog says:

    I am looking forward to reading all of your reviews and am hoping to read them all. I met Emma Donoghue at an event last night and anxious to finish reading The Wonder. She was a very engaging and enthusiastic speaker!!

  9. Brona says:

    I love the Canadian cover for DNSWHN. I’m also loving the book but it is a slow read that I have to concentrate on. It’s worthy of a win I think.

  10. The Cue Card says:

    Hi Naomi, glad you’re a part of the Shadow Jury! I wonder if Madeleine Thien is the front-runner this year? Because of being on the Booker shortlist this year too. She has the momentum. I’m really glad to be seeing 3 of these authors speaking at the book festival here soon: Thien, Donoghue, and Whittall. I’m very excited. I will get their books too. Enjoy the reading.

    • Naomi says:

      Three more coming to your town?! Okay, I’m coming… I hope you have a spare room. 🙂
      I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those books!

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