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One of these novelists will receive the $150K Carol Shields Prize

Here's the shortlist of authors for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction. The winner will be announced in Toronto on May 13th.
McClelland & Stewart/Random House/Doubleday Canada/SJP Lit
Here's the shortlist of authors for the Carol Shields Prize for Fiction. The winner will be announced in Toronto on May 13th.

The Carol Shields Prize is a newcomer in the world of literary awards. It's also one of the most generous. The winner will receive $150,000 and a residency with Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland, Canada. Each of the four runner-ups will receive $12,500.

The winner of the 2024 Carol Shields Prize, the second annual award, will be announced on May 13. Here's shortlist:

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

In this eco-thriller, a guerilla gardening collective named 'Birnam Wood' (after Macbeth) meets an American billionaire. In his review for WHYY's Fresh Air, John Powers writes, "this New Zealand-set book is a witty literary thriller about the collision between eco-idealism and staggering wealth."

Daughter by Claudia Dey

Protagonist Mona Dean is a playwright, actor and daughter of an insecure man who is famous for one great novel. The Carol Shields Prize describes Daughter as "exposing painful truths about art, family, and systemic inequities" and "a study of intimate manipulations and the trope of the male genius."

Coleman Hill by Kim Coleman Foote

Foote's debut novel is partly based on her own family history. In the early 1900s, two Black women quit the Jim Crow south and head for New Jersey. "Gripping, poetic, and with a big heart," writes Publishers Weekly, "it's a memorable work of grim determination and surprising optimism."

A History of Burning by Janika Oza

Oza's historical fiction draws from President Idi Amin's forced expulsion of more than 50,000 South Asians from Uganda in 1972. Her debut novel follows four generations of one family over continents and the course of nearly a century. "An ambitious family drama skillfully explores the bonds of kinship and the yearning for peace and security," writes Kirkus Reviews.

Brotherless Night by V. V. Ganeshananthan

"What makes a person become a terrorist?" writes Emiko Tamagawa, senior producer of Here & Now. "This book explores that question through the eyes of Sashi, a young Tamil woman growing up in a Sri Lanka on the edge of civil war. I was completely engrossed in this novel; reading it made the story of the Tamil Tigers and the bloody conflict in Sri Lanka real to me in a way they hadn't been before."

Celebrating women and non-binary writers

The winner of the second Carol Shields Prize will be announced on May 13 during a live event in Toronto hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, writer, and Carol Shields Prize Foundation board director Natasha Trethewey.

Named for Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Carol Shields, the award recognizes "creativity and excellence in fiction by women and non-binary writers in Canada and the United States" according to its website. Shields, who died in 2003 at the age of 68, was best known for The Stone Diaries.

The first recipient of the prize was Fatimah Asghar for their debut novel When We Were Sisters.

This story was edited by Meghan Sullivan.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elizabeth Blair
Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.