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Whistler Reads: Lynn Coady's 2013 Giller Prize Winner

abstract:The Canadian short story rules! So think people from coast to coast to coast after Lynn Coady's sublime collection of short stories in her book, Hellgoing: Stories (published by Anansai Press, 2013) won this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize. Whistler Reads members were here to cheer her on. The native Cape Bretonian who now lives in Edmonton Alberta obtained her MFA in writing from the University of British Columbia and her writing appears in magazines and newspapers across the country.

The Giller committee writes of her work:

The eight stories in Lynn Coadys Hellgoing offer a stupendous range of attitudes, narrative strategies, and human situations, each complete and intricate, creating a world the reader enters as totally as that of a novel, or a dream. Yet the book as a whole is also magically united by Coadys vivid and iconoclastic language, which brims with keen and sympathetic wit. Whether from the perspective of a writer flailing in the social atmosphere of a professional conference, or a woman trying to extend forgiveness to a lovers abusive father, Coady offers a worldview full of mournful humour, ready indignation, and vertiginous possibility; the reader feels in the presence of life itself.

And her own publisher says:

"Equally adept at capturing the foibles and obsessions of men and of women, compassionate in her humour yet never missing an opportunity to make her characters squirm, fascinated as much by faithlessness as by faith, Lynn Coady is quite possibly the writer who best captures what it is to be human at this particular moment in our history."RandomHouse.
Get your book online here or via Armchair Books in Whistler, where members receive a 10% discount. We'll announce the venue for this discussion shortly. (A booking with the author is in the works.) In the meanwhile, here are some questions to keep in mind as you read:
  1. What do you think sets Coady's writing apart from the crowd? Bring an example of writing that grabs you in the gut to share with the group.
  2. Is there a common thread among the stories as in theme, mood, feeling? Like an album or CD of music, much thought goes into the order of stories. Consider how the editor chose these.
  3. How would you compare Lynn's writing to other Canadian short story specialists? WR discussed Alice Munro's Runaway Sept 2009, and there are many other Canadian short story specialists. Is there anything that speaks to "every Canadian" and the sense of a national identity?
  4. A writer's style has a lot to do with the mechanics; the cadence of their sentences in addition to subject, plot, setting. Is it short and punchy like Hemingway, or long paragraph-length unpunctuated sentences like Proust? What is Coady's distinguishing style?


    January 01, 2014

  5. Do you think the various national prizes: the Giller, the GG etc., who judge only writers whose work was published by member pub houses are representing the full spectrum of writers out there? Statistics say more and more new authors are using the emerging online publishing sector and don't qualify. Perhaps we are missing the opportunity to spotlight talented new Canadian writers and their innovative book teams?
  6. Become a Whistler Reads Member

    We'll keep you in the loop for this and our upcoming cross-community initiative!

  7. Click JOIN
  8. Select "Invited to join an EXISTING book group"
  9. Type in "Whistler Reads" (no quote marks) in the field asking for the name of the group
  10. Fill in the rest of your information - and - ta da You're IN!
  11. Log in. Browse the member list. Share books. Car pool. Post a message on the forum. Check the book archive to see a list of all the books read thus far. Tell us what you're reading or what you'd like the group to read next.
  12. To share your comments and ratings on books, become a BookBuffet FaceBook Member.
    To receive our tweets, join our Twitter feed at For a list of all the books we've read and fun parties, gatherings, panel discussions that went with them, go to the Whistler Reads event list and click on the title to see full details. We provide research, links and discussion questions to stimulate your experience.

    Additional Links

    Lynn Coady's Website
    Lynn Coady's Twitter feed Wikipedia listing
    The Giller Prize Website
    The Star's feature talking about Coady and Munro bringing the short story genre to the forefront.



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