Tag Archives: Giller Prize

Here’s to Coach House Books!

There must be a coFifteenDogsnstant party atmosphere at the office of Coach House Books in Toronto: they’re celebrating their 50th anniversary, and one of their titles, Fifteen Dogs by AndrΓ© Alexis, won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize! The Giller Prize is the Canadian equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in the U.S., so obviously everyone at Coach House Books is over the moon. Alexis received $100,000 at a black-tie ceremony on November 10th, as well as the opportunity to attend a two-week residency program at Leighton Artists’ Colony in Banff, Alberta, courtesy of the Banff Centre.

Both the shortlist (which included two titles from Biblioasis, Martin John and Arvida) and the winner were chosen by a five-member jury panel. Their statement about Fifteen Dogs makes it clear why it was chosen: “it’s a novel filled with balancing acts: humor juxtaposed with savagery, solitude with the desperate need to be part of a pack, perceptive prose interspersed with playful poetry. A wonderful and original piece of writing that challenges the reader to examine their own existence and recall the age-old question, what’s the meaning of life?”

In addition to the 2015 Giller Prize, Fifteen Dogs won the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the 2015 Toronto Book Awards. Though the Giller Prize marks the most prestigious award a Coach House Books author has received, the press has also received numerous awards and nominations.

It all began in 1965, when typesetter Stan Bevington rented an old coach house and joined forces with Dennis Reid to print a book of poetry by Wayne Clifford. Since then, Coach House Books has remained one of the few presses that still prints their books in-house. This allows them to put just as much focus and attention on the quality and construction of the physical books as they do on the stories themselves. They have a diverse collection of titles, featuring innovative fiction, poetry, film and drama, and non-fiction. Check out this radio documentary they put together to hear the “voices behind the books.”

Congratulations to AndrΓ© Alexis and Coach House Books on their win, and here’s to the next 50 years!





Leave a comment

Filed under Bookslinger App, Our Publishers

Biblioasis Scores Giller Shortlist and The Globe and Mail Notes a Legacy


Biblioasis staff and Dan Wells, fourth from the right. Photo Credit: Geoff Robins/The Globe and Mail.

With a name and logo steeped in clever allusions and literary tradition, Biblioasis is taking the publishing world by storm. On October 2, Mark Medley for The Globe and Mail took a look at the Windsor, Ontario based press and chatted with founder Dan Wells about the press’ roots and future prospects, and highlighted that two of Biblioasis’ titles (Martin John by Anakana Schofield and Arivda by Samuel Archibald) are on the shortlist for the prestigious Giller Prize!

Biblioasis has previously had titles on the longlist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, but this year two of their titles were selected as finalists for the Giller Prize. While Dan Wells is trying not to concentrate too hard on the outcome, the Giller Prize is a huge deal: it is the Canadian equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. The Giller Prize awards $100,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The winner will be announced on November 10.

Biblioasis first opened as a bookstore in 1998 after Wells bought up “a giant room of books… chock full of first editions” at an auction house in Ontario. Wells discovered he was extremely successful as a bookseller, and after acquiring the talents of editor, critic, and author John Metcalf and publishing veteran Dennis Priebe, Biblioasis the press was born.

In Wells’ days before publishing, he worked as a welder, where he received the nickname “Panic.” While this doesn’t seem like a great characteristic for someone working with hot metal, Wells’ dislike for big events and award ceremonies works to his advantage as a publisher: instead of focusing solely on awards (like those Giller finalists) he actively supports all of his authors and strives to uphold the press’ mission to “publish unabashed literary fiction (with an emphasis on short stories), discover untapped talent, rescue lost or forgotten books, and introduce North American readers to the work of authors around the world.” Kathy Page, a Biblioasis author who was longlisted for the Giller Prize in 2014 for Paradise and Elsewhere, summed up Wells’ attitude: “there’s a certain spunky, devil-may-care attitude to the wide world.”



Leave a comment

Filed under Bookslinger App, Our Publishers