Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sovietizing the Giller

I've just read that a new dawn of populism - or something equally Soviet sounding - has broken over the Giller Prize, one of this country's Big Three literary wins. Now anyone with a computer can vote and the entry with the most online support will be added to the Giller long list.

What a terrible, terrible idea. It won't encourage more reading, a greater appreciation of literature or increase demand for better work by Canadian writers. Online voting puts the Giller in the same place as some third rate "reality" show where dancers or singers or latter day castaways are sent packing just because. In other words, it's steering into the shallows.

If we must have one-off literary prizes, and I'm not convinced we need them, then let the winners be chosen by writers and only writers. Let's have juries composed of novelists, not arty types or superannuated Hogtown chatterati, and certainly not a passel of anonymous cyber voters.

No comments: