Last month, 17 Canadian books were named to the Giller Prize longlist. Those 17 were winnowed down to six shortlisted books, and those six have been announced today. The six Canadian books shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, worth $50,000, are:

Giller Prize Shortlist

The six books on the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize Shortlist

David Bezmozgis’ The Free World, published by HarperCollins, tells the story of a Soviet-Jewish  family struggling to make a new life in Rome as they wait to immigrate to America. (Harper Collins)

Lynn Coady’s epistolary novel, The Antagonist, about a former hockey enforcer revealing his life story to his former best friend. (House of Anansi)

Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, a dark comedy about two pistol-sharp cowboy assassins tasked with tracking down and killing a gold-rush prospector. The Sisters Brothers is also up for the Man Booker Prize (House of Anansi).

Esi Edugyan’s Half-Blood Blues tells the tale of black German jazz musicians striving against all odds to make music in occupied Paris. Like The Sisters Brothers, Half-Blood Blues is also nominated for the Man Booker Prize (Thomas Allen).

Zsuzsi Gartner’s Better Living Through Plastic Explosives, the only short story collection on the shortlist, is a quirky collection of stories set against the backdrop of Vancouver’s West Coast. (Hamish Hamilton Canada)

Michael Ondaatje‘s The Cat’s Table is a semi-autobiographical novel that follows the journey of an 11-year-old boy as he sails from Sri Lanka to England. (McClelland & Stewart)

Of the nominees, juror and former Giller Prize finalist Annabel Lyon said:

“I’m thrilled by the diversity on this list…We have three men, three women, we’ve got Western Canada, we’ve got the Maritimes, we’ve got historical fiction, we’ve got contemporary, we’ve got short fiction, we’ve got long fiction. I think it says that literary culture in Canada is vibrant, is young, is flourishing. It really is.” (via. National Post)

Visit The Scotiabank Giller Prize for more information.

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