Two Manitoba authors are among the finalists for the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust fiction prize.
Miriam Toews’ Fight Night, published by Knopf Canada and told from the perspective of a nine-year-old living with her pregnant mother, joins a short list of five books vying for the $60,000 award.
Also on that list: The Strangers by Manitoba Metis author Katherena Vermette for Hamish Hamilton Canada, centred on a broken social services system.
They’re up for the prize against We Want What We Want by Montreal-raised Alix Ohlin and published by House of Anansi Press, about a young woman who learns her father is engaged to her childhood best friend; Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by New York-based Rivka Galchen for Harper Perennial, a tale of hysteria set in the 1600s; and August into Winter: A Novel by Saskatchewan’s Guy Vanderhaeghe and published by McClelland & Stewart, a story of violence that sets off a chain of events in a small prairie town on the cusp of the Second World War.
Each finalist receives $5,000. The winner will be announced at a virtual ceremony Nov. 3.
The Writers’ Trust fiction prize celebrates the best novel or collection of short stories published in Canada and was renamed this year in recognition of co-founders and writers Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson.
Toews, a native of Steinbach, Man., previously won for 2008’s The Flying Troutmans and 2014’s All My Puny Sorrows.
The short list was chosen by a jury of fiction writers — Rebecca Fisseha, Michelle Good and Steven Price — who narrowed the list down from 130 titles submitted by 60 publishers.
Atwood and Gibson, who were partners for more than a half-century until Gibson’s death in 2019, were among the wordsmiths who co-founded the Writers’ Trust in 1976.