People walk into the CBC building in Toronto on Wednesday, April 4, 2012. CBC/Radio-Canada has announced that it will have to cut 650 jobs over the next three years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO—The 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalists were announced October 2 to a crowd of 15 gathered outside CBC headquarters. The group included 10 journalists, four tourists and a homeless man.

“This is so exciting!” said Stockholm resident, Lucas Nilsson. “We were just wandering past and now we have witnessed this announcement. I assume it is like the Canadian Nobel Prize for Literature? Very highly regarded?”

The Giller Prize, established in 1994 and awarded yearly, brings attention to the very best in Canadian fiction. The juried competition features a longlist of 12 works, while the shortlist is made up of the top five books. Collections of short stories and novels, written in English, are eligible.

“This year,” said literary critic Amy Suma, “three of the authors are making the shortlist for the second time. I think this is a tribute to the tenacity of our homegrown writers, and not evidence of favouritism or a dearth of writing as some have suggested.”

Scotiabank assumed sponsorship of the Giller Prize in 2005, increasing what was then a $25,000 top prize. The 2017 winner will be awarded $100,000 and each finalist will receive $10,000. Earlier this year, Scotiabank brokered an Air Canada Centre sponsorship deal for $800 million.

Speaking anonymously, a former finalist said the prize is indicative of Canadian values. “I mean, the money was nice, sure, but I would have had a bigger pay day as a reality tv contestant. I guess Canadians would sooner watch meatheads whack around a hockey puck than immerse themselves in literature.”

The 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner will be announced November 20 at a gala hosted by Mary Walsh. Margaret Atwood was scheduled to emcee, but her agent said she will no longer wake up for less than $10,000 a day. Atwood was in Hollywood at press time and unavailable for comment.

By Molly Donovan

I grew up in the USA, but don't hold that against me because I'm also Canadian. Just think of me as the mole.

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