Stephen Henighan’s most recent ravings about the treachery of jurors, conflicts of interest and other sinister goings on at the Giller Prize (“Kingmakers,” Geist No. 63) are notable for their sheer entertainment value, a superb addendum to his ongoing anti-Giller screed. Henighan’s bitterness toward the Giller Prize is almost legendary.
No one’s quite sure why, but hopefully all the ink and brow sweat he spills writing about us will at least stimulate more conversations about and reading of Canadian literature. What’s striking is how prescient Mordecai Richler was when he stated, at the launch of the Giller Prize almost fourteen years ago, that “when you give Canadians an apple, they look for the razor blade inside.”
As well, Henighan is just plain wrong about the “party favours” at the 2006 Giller Prize. The books in the centre of each table were props, big fat hardcover books that we’d requested from Indigo Books and Music and that they’d graciously loaned us, that were covered in laminating paper and used to build a literary sculpture. They were not swag, gifts for guests to take home. They were decoration. Guests did leave with them, but not at our invitation.
Unfortunately, Henighan’s agenda clearly eclipsed any attempt at solid factual research.
—Elana Rabinovitch, Toronto