André NarbonneAndré Narbonne’s debut novel is longlisted for the Giller Prize. Photo courtesy Marty Gervais.

Creative writing prof in running for literary prize

Lucien & Olivia, the debut novel by English and creative writing professor André Narbonne, is one of 14 books longlisted for the $100,000 Giller Prize, Canada’s largest literary award.

“I am very honoured to be longlisted for the Giller Prize. Thank you to the jury,” Dr. Narbonne said in a statement following the announcement. “I am especially grateful to my publisher, Marty Gervais and Black Moss Press, for believing in my manuscript.”

Lucien & Olivia is a love story set in Halifax, the Great Lakes, and the eastern seaboard during the early 1980s. It satirizes the transactional view of human relations central to contemporary political discourse.

Narbonne previously published the poetry collection You Were Here and the short story collection Twelve Miles to Midnight, shortlisted for the Writers’ Union of Canada’s Danuta Gleed Literary Award.

Gervais is also an instructor in the Department of English and Creative Writing as well as Windsor’s first poet laureate. He says this honour marks an important first for the press he founded in 1969.

“This is the first Black Moss Press title to be longlisted for the Giller Prize, and what a deserving story,” says Gervais. “When André came to me with his debut novel, I was up all night reading it. I phoned André the next day knowing we had to publish it.

“We are so proud that this book is getting the recognition it deserves.”

In announcing their selections, jury members Casey Plett, Kaie Kellough, Waubgeshig Rice, Katie Kitamura, and Scott Spencer wrote: “The jury’s discussions and debates throughout the year were nuanced and spirited, but most of all we were continuously in awe of the cornucopia presented to us. We are proud to showcase a longlist of 14 outstanding titles that are sweeping in scope, touch all corners of life, and which provide pleasure and stimulation as well as urgency and depth.”

They will announce a shortlist Sept. 27 and the winner Nov. 7.