Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stop the presses!

by Rick Blechta

A thriller has won a major literary award!

Yes, you read that correctly. Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square won the Giller Prize last night (along with the $100,000 prize). The annual gala event is broadcast by CBC coast-to-coast-to-coast here in Canada and it always gets massive media attention, which is very good for publishing in general here in the Great White North. And finally a crime fiction novel has won something very worthwhile.

To be perfectly transparent, I haven’t yet read the book (but I will ASAP), so what I’m saying must be tempered by that knowledge.

One thing we crime writers (and genre writers in general) are fond of saying is that many of our top authors write as well or better than any number of “literary authors” who have won major prizes. This statement is usually followed up by, “But of course crime fiction will never be even shortlisted for any major prize because the people who run these contests don’t take our genre as a serious literary endeavour.”

Well, this year’s Giller judging panel certainly blew that out of the water.

Now one thing I have noticed is that the news coverage of the results of the Giller calls Bellevue Square a “literary thriller” (as if that makes it more acceptable to them), and judging by reviews I’ve been reading all morning, the novel is certainly not anything one could call formulaic in the way the story progresses, but the fact that “Giller winner” and “thriller” are appearing in the same sentence is something that sets my little heart just a-pumping.

This is a very big deal for all of us ink-stained wretches who write crime fiction. There’s hope for us!


Marianne Wheelaghan said...

Yay! This is very good news indeed. I firmly believe a good crime novel can tell us as much about the darker side of society as any literary novel. So, well done to Michael Redhill and his literary thriller!

Rick Blechta said...

I should have also put in that Michael writes a crime series under the pen name of Inger Ash Wolfe. I'm going to have to purchase one of those also.

But this is really big news for all of us.