Anakana Schofield – Author of Martin John and Malarky

Martin John nominated for Giller Prize long list –

I was asleep.

Even though it was 8.30 I was asleep.

I was asleep because in the middle of the night I awoke to, what I understood was, an attempted robbery of a sewer pipe from the repair taking place outside my apartment building. Since I’ve been anticipating the ground opening and getting a confirmed peek at precisely how our sewer system looks (I’d notions of a giant Dickensian/Victorian type series of tunnels. Alas, no. Closer to IKEA than Dickens) I had a certain investment in the pipes not being robbed. Leapt from the bed, barefooted it to the balcony, ready to bellow at the robber. I could hear a noisy, ceramic dragging sound. My defence of the lack of an attempted robbery on the sewer pipe at 4am explains why I was fast asleep when apparently it seems the rest of literary Canada was wide awake.

A text arrived from a friend that read

YES!

What?

Longlist.

What longlist?

Giller.

There followed a great deal of donging type notifications on my phone and before I could really comprehend anything my teenage son sent a series of frantic texts about his forgotten school  timetable on the kitchen table and urged me to take a picture of it. Take a picture and text it to me. I could not figure out the camera but took a picture. More texts. Where’s the picture? There was some technical interference as though Pluto was lowering a giraffe between our phone signals and this took some time before I could figure out the 83 notification messages.

The gist of the story is

“Scotiabank Giller Prize jury delivers surprising longlist”

The reason my phone was hopping is because by some strange stroke of a miracle, Martin John is on it. Summarized very well here by Steven Beattie.

“The big winner here, among publishers, is Biblioasis, with three titles represented. The press has been longlisted before, but never quite so robustly, and always for story collections – Kathy Page’s Paradise & Elsewhere in 2014; Clark Blaise’s The Meagre Tarmac in 2011, and Alexander MacLeod’s Light Lifting in 2010. Light Lifting went on to make the shortlist that year; MacLeod is on the jury for this year’s prize.

Schofield’s nomination is a bit of a coup for the Windsor, Ontario, press: not only is it the first time they have had a work of long-form fiction appear on a Giller list, they managed it with a novel that is highly stylized, narrated from the disturbed, fractured perspective of a sexual deviant. The book is a bold departure from Schofield’s debut, 2012’s Amazon.ca First Novel Award winner, Malarky.”

The official announcement including all 12 longlisted titles from a diverse and bold and funny bunch of writers that include Patrick deWitt, Heather O’Neill, Alix Hawley, André Alexis, Marina Endicott and others is found here.

 

My son and I went to the hairdressers to celebrate. I bought a Vivian Gornick book to celebrate and he scored $9 of pistachios.

I have decided that my spot on this list will be the unofficial universal shared spot, which means it’s shared symbolically by any writer who ever wrote a challenging literary work that they assumed would be the undoing of them and basically had no hope of ever getting on any such list. So there’s a field full of writers sharing it with me. It’s the wireless spot if you like. Maybe you are one of them. Happy Days.

Thank you for all the lovely messages and the warm support. It was a very tough novel to write.

Merci beaucoup. Go raibh míle maith agaibh.

See you on the road over the coming months.