2 Manitoba authors among fiction prize finalists

Miriam Toews.
Miriam Toews. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Random House of Canada, Carol Loewen

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.

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Each finalist receives $5,000. The winner will be announced at a virtual ceremony Nov. 3.

Read more: Manitoba playwright named library’s Writer-in-Residence

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.

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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.

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