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The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Sponsored by Rogers Communications Inc.
Winner: $15,000; Finalists: $2,000

Established in 1997, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize recognizes Canadian writers of exceptional talent for the year's best novel or short-story collection.

2008 Winner | 2008 Other Shortlisted | Winners 1997- 2007

2009 Winner & Finalists Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

2009 Finalists Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Finalists

Nicole Brossard, Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood (translator) Fences in Breathing, Coach House Books

Douglas Coupland, Generation A, Random House Canada

Annabel Lyon, The Golden Mean, Random House Canada - Winner

Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness, McClelland & Stewart: A Douglas Gibson Book

Andrew Steinmetz, Eva’s Threepenny Theatre, Gaspereau Press

Nicole Brossard
Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood (translator)
Fences in Breathing,
Coach House Books

Invited to a quiet Swiss château by the enigmatic Tatiana Beaujeu Lehmann, Anne begins to slowly write a novel in a language that is not hers, a language that makes meaning foreign and keeps her alert to the world and its fiery horizon. Will the strange intoxication that takes hold of her and her characters – sculptor Charles; his sister, Kim about to leave for the far north; and Laura Ravin, a lawyer obsessed with the Patriot Act – allow her to break through the darkness of the world? This novel was first published in French as La Capture du sombre in 2007.

Nicole Brossard is a poet, novelist, and essayist who has published more than 30 books. She has won the Governor General’s Award for Poetry twice, and the W.O. Mitchell Literary Prize. She lives in Montreal.

Susanne de Lorbinière-Harwood is an author and translator. This is her fourth Nicole Brossard book. She lives in Montreal.

Douglas Coupland
Generation A,
Random House Canada

In the near future, ecological damage has given rise to the apparent extinction of honey bees, sparking a pollination crisis. On an autumn day five unconnected people – in the US, Canada, France, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka – are all stung. Spirited away for medical testing by a shadowy pharmaceutical company their shared experience unites them in ways they could never have imagined. Generation A explores new ways of storytelling in a digital world and occupies the perplexing hinterland between optimism about the future and everyday apocalyptic paranoia.

Douglas Coupland was born on a NATO base in Germany in 1961. He is the author of numerous books, including JPod, Hey Nostradamus!, and Generation X. A visual artist, sculptor, furniture designer, and screenwriter, Coupland collaborated on the design of a recently unveiled eight-acre park in downtown Toronto. He lives in Vancouver.

Annabel Lyon
The Golden Mean
Random House Canada

Aristotle is forced to postpone his dream of succeeding Plato as the leader of the Academy in Athens when Philip of Macedon asks him to stay on in his capital city of Pella to tutor his precocious son, Alexander. Appalled at first, he is soon drawn to the boy’s intellectual potential. Born into a warrior culture, thrown before his time onto his father’s battlefields, Alexander needs to learn the golden mean, that elusive balance between extremes that Aristotle hopes will mitigate the boy’s will to conquer.

Annabel Lyon first collection of short fiction, Oxygen, was nominated for the Danuta Gleed and ReLit Awards. Her second collection, The Best Thing of You, was nominated for the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction. She lives in New Westminster, British Columbia. This is her first novel.

Alice Munro
Too Much Happiness,
McClelland & Stewart: A Douglas Gibson Book

The title story in this collection follows real-life Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevsky on her final journey from France to Sweden, the only country in the 1890s that would accept a female professor. Other stories sweep readers into a home invasion in a lonely widow’s remote house, reveal the cracks through which someone can slip into a life on Toronto’s streets, and show a small-town girl who watches three women vie for power around a dying man’s bed. With piercing insight, Munro provides honest and exacting fiction in this diverse collection.

Alice Munro has published fourteen previous books. This is her fourth nomination for this prize, which she won in 2004 for Runaway. She recently received the Man Booker International Prize. She divides her time between Clinton, Ontario, and Comox, British Columbia.

Andrew Steinmetz
Eva’s Threepenny Theatre
Gaspereau Press

Billed as “an unusual fiction about memoir,” Eva’s Threepenny Theatre tells the story of the author’s great-aunt, Eva Mathilde Steinmetz, who played a whore in the first workshop production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera in Berlin in 1928. Recording her recollections, Eva takes us back to her childhood, life in Weimar Germany, and, with the pronouncement of the family’s Jewish origins, escape from Nazi rule. In a series of fragmented stories we see the author’s own life as it intersects with Eva’s, and his changing perspective on her stories.

Andrew Steinmetz is the author of a memoir, Wardlife: The Apprenticeship of a Young Writer as a Hospital Clerk, and two collections of poetry. He is the editor of Esplanade Books, the fiction imprint at Véhicule Press. Steinmetz lives in Ottawa. This is his first novel.

2008 Winner The $25,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

MiriamToews (Winnipeg) for The Flying Troutmans, published by Knopf Canada published by Knopf Canada

“Toews's book is a love song to young people trying to navigate the volcanic world of adult emotions.”

2008 Shortlist
Jury: Lawrence Hill (Burlington, Ontario), Annabel Lyon (Vancouver), and Heather O’Neill (Montreal)

Each finalist for this prize receives $3,500.
• Rivka Galchen (New York City) for Atmospheric Disturbances, published by Harper Collins Canada
• Rawi Hage (Montreal) for Cockroach, published by House of Anansi Press
• Lee Henderson (Vancouver) for The Man Game, published by Viking Canada
• Patrick Lane (North Saanich, British Columbia) for Red Dog, Red Dog, published by
McClelland & Stewart

 

2008 Winner

Miriam Toews (Winnipeg) for The Flying Troutmanstoews_miriam, published by Knopf Canada

Days after being dumped by her boyfriend Marc in Paris – "he was heading off to an ashram and said we could communicate telepathically" – Hattie hears her sister Min has been checked into a psychiatric hospital, and finds herself flying back to Winnipeg to take care of Thebes and Logan, her niece and nephew. Not knowing what else to do, she loads the kids, a cooler, and a pile of CDs into their van and they set out on a road trip in search of the children’s long-lost father, Cherkis.

In part because no one has any good idea where Cherkis is, the traveling maters more than the destination. On their wayward, eventful journey down to North Dakota and beyond, the Troutmans stay at scary motels, meet helpful hippies, and try to ignore the threatening noises coming from under the hood of their van. Eleven-year-old Thebes spends her time making huge novelty cheques with arts and crafts supplies in the back, and won’t wash, no matter how wild and matted her purple hair gets; she forgot to pack any clothes. Four years older, Logan carves phrases like "Fear Yourself" into the dashboard, and repeatedly disappears in the middle of the night to play basketball; he’s in love, he says, with New York Times columnist Deborah Solomon. Meanwhile, Min can’t be reached at the hospital, and, more than once, Hattie calls Marc in tears.

But though it might seem like an escape from crisis into chaos, this journey is also desperately necessary, a chance for an accidental family to accept, understand or at least find their way through overwhelming times. From interwoven memories and scenes from the past, we learn much more about them: how Min got so sick, why Cherkis left home, why Hattie went to Paris, and what made Thebes and Logan who they are today.

In this completely captivating book, Miriam Toews has created some of the most engaging characters in Canadian literature: Hattie, Logan and Thebes are bewildered, hopeful, angry, and most of all, absolutely alive. Full of richly skewed, richly funny detail, The Flying Troutmans is a uniquely affecting novel.

 

Buy from Abe Books Canada

 

2008 Other Shortlisted

Rivka Galchen (New York City) for Atmospheric galchan_rivkaDisturbances, published by Harper Collins Canada.

Imagine what it might be like to realize that the person you love is, in fact, not the person you love but a doppelgänger: or, what Leo Liebenstein coolly terms a "simulacrum" of his wife Rema at the outset of Atmospheric Disturbances. David Byrne's infamous cry that "this is not my beautiful wife" seems the most likely response, but Leo's reaction to this sea change takes unpredictable and dazzlingly plotted turns in the story that follows. Leo's journey to recover the "real" Rema is nothing short of byzantine; among its many mysteries is the delightfully inscrutable Dr. Tzvi Gal-Chen, a master meteorologist who in cleverly constructed flashback sequences takes up residence in the daily rhythms of Leo and Rema's marriage and becomes as much a focus of Leo's obsession as his wife's whereabouts. (Think Vertigo--but directed by Charlie Kaufman.) Make no mistake: this is dizzying debut fiction, bursting at the spine with beautifully articulated ideas about love, yes, but also--and with maddening resonance--about the private wars love forces us to wage with ourselves. Be sure to keep a pen or pencil handy: it's impossible to resist underlining prose this good. --Anne Bartholomew

     

 

Buy from Abe Books Canada

Rawi Hage (Montreal) for Cockroach, published by House hage_rawiof Anansi Press

One of the most highly anticipated novels of the year, Cockroach is as urgent, unsettling, and brilliant as Rawi Hage's bestselling and critically acclaimed first book, De Niro's Game. The novel takes place during one month of a bitterly cold winter in Montreal's restless immigrant community, where a self-described "thief" has just tried but failed to commit suicide by hanging himself from a tree in a local park. Rescued against his will, the narrator is obliged to attend sessions with a well-intentioned but naïve therapist. This sets the story in motion, leading us back to the narrator's violent childhood in a war-torn country, forward into his current life in the smoky émigré cafés where everyone has a tale, and out into the frozen night-time streets of Montreal, where the thief survives on the edge, imagining himself to be a cockroach invading the lives of the privileged, but willfully blind, citizens who surround him.

Like De Niro's Game, Cockroach combines an uncompromising vision of humanity with razor-sharp portraits of society's outsiders, and a startling, poetic sensibility with bracing jolts of dark humour

     

 

Buy from Abe Books Canada

 

Lee Henderson (Vancouver) for The Man Game, puhenderson_leeblished by Viking Canada

On a recent Vancouver Sunday afternoon, a young man stumbles upon a secret sport invented more than a century before, at the birth of his city. Thus begins The Man Game, Lee Henderson's epic tale of loved requited and not, that crosses the contemporary and historical in an extravagant, anarchistic retelling of the early days of a pioneer town on the edge of the known world. In 1886, out of the smouldering ashes of the great fire that destroyed much of the city, Molly Erwagen--former vaudeville performer--arrives from Toronto with her beloved husband, Samuel, to start a new life. Meanwhile, Litz and Pisk, two lumberjacks exiled after the fire, and blamed for having started it, are trying to clear their names. Before long, they've teamed up with Molly to invent a new sport that will change the course of that fledgling city's history.

About the Author
Lee Henderson was born in Saskatoon and raised there and in Edmonton. He now lives in Vancouver. His journalism has appeared in Saturday Night and one of the stories ("Sheep Dub") from his collection, The Broken Record Technique, was included in the 2000 Journey Prize Anthology.

     

 

Buy from Abe Books Canada

 

Patrick Lane (North Saanich, British Columbia) for Redlane_patrick Dog, Red Dog, published by McClelland & Stewart

One of the most powerful, gripping works of fiction to come out of Canada, Red Dog, Red Dog is Patrick Lane’s virtuoso debut novel.

An epic novel of unrequited dreams and forestalled lives, Red Dog, Red Dog is set in the mid-1950s, in a small town in the interior of B.C. in the unnamed Okanagan Valley. The novel focuses on the Stark family, centring on brothers Eddy and Tom, who are bound together by family loyalty and inarticulate love.

There is Tom and Eddy’s father, Elmer Stark, a violent man with a troubled past, and Lillian, who married as a girl to escape life on the farm with her widowed mother, and now retreats into her own isolation. Unrepentant, bitter, older brother Eddy speeds freely along, his desperate path fuelled by drugs and weapons, while Tom, a loner, attempts to conceal their secrets and protect what remains of the family. Eventually, an unspeakable crime causes him to come face to face with something traumatic that has lain hidden in him since he was a boy. Narrated in part by one of the dead infant daughters Elmer has buried, the story unfolds gradually, as it weaves in family stories that reach back to the depression days and the harsh life of settlers in the 1880s West.

This is also a novel about a small community of people, about complicated loyalties, about betrayals and shifts of power. Filled with moments of harrowing violence and breathtaking description, of shattering truths and deep humanity, Red Dog, Red Dog is about the legacies of the past and the possibilities of forgiveness and redemption. With this astonishing novel, one of Canada’s best poets propels himself into the forefront of our finest novelists.

     

 

Buy from Abe Books Canada

 

 

     

Previous Winners

2007 Lawrence Hill for The Book of Negroes
2006 Kenneth J. Harvey for Inside
2005 Joseph Boyden for Three Day Road
2004 Alice Munro for Runaway
2003 Kevin Patterson for Country of Cold
2002
Paulette Jiles for Enemy Women
2001 Margaret Sweatman for When Alice Lay Down With Peter
2000 Helen Humphreys for Afterimage
1999 Peter Oliva for The City of Yes
1998 Greg Hollingshead for The Healer
1997 Austin Clarke for The Origins of Waves

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