The Giller Prize and the worst in Canadian literature

The Giller Prize, celebrating the best in Canadian literature, was handed out the other day. This year’s title (and $50,000 cheque) was awarded to Esi Edugyan for Half-Blood Blues. Congratulations.

There were a handful of other finalists as well. I haven’t read any of the books, but I’m assuming they’re all great (That’s my official endorsement. I expect the book-jacket-quote royalties to start rolling in). This is the Giller Prize after all. They’re the Oscars of the Canadian literature and, hey, the prize is sponsored by the same company that brings us Dragon’s Den every week. That’s integrity.

Which got me thinking: If the Oscar analogy is correct, where are the Razzies of Canadian literature? (The Razzies, of course, refer to the Golden Raspberry Awards given out to the worst in American filmmaking. It’s the Opposite Oscars).

I don’t think that award exists, so I put on my construction cap and got industrious. The nomination process for my new “worst of CanLit” award begins now. But before you start your feverish write-in campaign, there are a few rules. First, Saskatchewan radio broadcaster John Gormley (Limbaugh light) and any political fiction he commits to print are exempt from competition. In the interest of fairness, any handwritten newsletters affiliated with community radio are also banned. They’ve got a guy on the air who is so biased, he has two left arms!

And this award will be, for no good reason at all, called the Gibbler Prize, named so for Kimmy Gibbler, the character memorably portrayed by actress Andrea Barber on the less-than-seminal and not-at-all-Canadian TV show Full House.

It seems fitting. Gibbler, a one-dimensional 1990s sitcom character, noteworthy for her overwrought facial expressions and trademark eye rolling, will now be likened to the Canadian publishing industry and the pedestrian narratives, unfortunate typos and benchmark cowboy poetry it sometimes produces. And, to make this award truly Canadian, no one gets paid.

Now, in the interest of taking things too far:

The title of this post should’ve been “Finding Meme-o.”

Dan Yates starts working again on Tuesday. He can’t wait. Really. In the meantime, he’s furiously checking his email at

About Dan Yates

I'm a writer, editor, wannabe funnyman and sometimes blogger.
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