Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hollingshead on the Giller Prize Jury

We all know what Giller Prize judge Victoria Glendinning thinks about Canadian writers, but what do Canadian writers think about the jugdes, and the fact that two of the judges on the three-person jury are foreign? Greg Hollingshead, author of Bedlam and The Roaring Girl, weighs in:

I can understand that the Giller people will want a jury that has authority with readers. And I agree that when it comes to choosing the “best book,” foreign fiction writers are more likely to get it right (if that’s ever possible) than name recognition Canadians who don’t write fiction. But I wonder if any other country in the world would be pleased to have its literature judged by a jury with a majority of foreign authors on it. The Griffin Poetry Prize (mentioned in your editorial as setting a precedent) has foreign authors on its jury because they are awarding an International Prize as well as a Canadian Prize. You won’t find a Canadian or a Brit on any recent U.S. National Book Award jury, and you won’t find a Canadian or an American on any recent U.K. Man Booker Prize jury. The reason the Australia-Asia Literary Award includes non-Australians on its jury is that it is open to non-Australian authors. When are we going to have the confidence of our own cultural judgments?

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