Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Giller Longlist

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Last year, my novel The Garneau Block was longlisted for the Giller Prize. This year, The Book of Stanley was not longlisted for the Giller Prize.

Last year, I was surprised. I did not even know there would be a longlist. This year, I waited for the longlist like a gazelle waiting to be attacked by a panther. That is, if panthers attack gazelles.

In the past weeks, I looked up the judges and searched their work for elements of humour. My novel has elements of humour: would that seem unserious to them? I attempted to woo the judges, via shamanic mindcommunication techniques, but failed to make contact. There is a ravine near my house. I sat in the ravine, on warm September afternoons, meditating on the word Giller, making it my own, attracting it with my will — this, I understand, is the secret of The Secret — but it always felt false. Besides, people wanted to jog and have sex and shoot up drugs in the ravine, and I was in their spot. It was dreadfully uncomfortable.

Today, ungenerously, I have looked up reviews of the novels on the list, and I have delighted in the bad ones. Then, in guilt, I have despised myself and praised the novelists on the list — their humanity, their artfulness, their respect for tradition, their Giller-sounding title-making skills — to well-wishers on Facebook. I have attempted to do this without sarcasm. And I have failed.

This afternoon, I allowed one of my friends to convince me that I didn't even want to be on the Giller longlist. This way I remain an underground artist, a cult hit in Belgium, "that guy with the open fly." An outsider. But now that I think about it, my friend is a real idiot.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Todd Babiak

Todd Babiak is the author of the bestselling novel The Garneau Block (McClelland & Stewart, 2006) and the award-winning novel Choke Hold (Turnstone, 2000). His latest novel is The Book of Stanley (McClelland & Stewart, 2007).

Go to Todd Babiak’s Author Page