The idea that Margaret Atwood crooked her finger and decided who won the Giller is so way over the top it feels like the stuff of comic books. The reason that the books that get nominated (often) are from the big publishing companies is because the best authors are offered big money from big publishers and they can’t afford not to take it because they’ve been toiling away for the last twenty years on fuck-all and their children have rickets. And so it turns out that, after a while, the best books go to the publishers that can offer the most money. Often. Not always, but often. Eventually. And yes, this is a shame. But to blame that on the Giller Prize or the jury is ridiculous and paranoid.
Juries are made up of writers who also have children with rickets and don’t really care one way or the other who published what and probably haven’t even noticed because writing really really really matters to them and they want to promote great writing, their very own idea of what best writing is, and this is their moment to do that, to have their say, to hold sway—nobody in his right mind would bother to be on a jury if it wasn’t for the sake of good writing. It’s too much work for very little thanks.
Why not set up hedge fund companies if it’s money that you care about or power or whatever the hell it is Stephen Henighan thinks motivates these guys? Oh yeah, he thinks there’s a big conspiracy to support multinationals led by Margaret Atwood. There are easier ways.
—Lisa Moore, St. John’s NL
P.S. I can’t quite get my head around Henighan’s problem with Lam’s Anglo-Greek wife. Who’s he supposed to be married to, Austin Clark?