Bahamian Canadian author is on track to win big

The Sleeping Car Porter
Suzette Mayr

Alberta author Suzette Mayr has been shortlisted for the inaugural Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, which celebrates excellence in fiction by women and non-binary writers in Canada and the United States. The prize, worth $150,000US, is an American-based award created to promote fiction written by a more diverse and inclusive group of writers.

Mayr’s latest novel, “The Sleeping Car Porter,” won the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize in November 2022. The historical novel tells the story of a queer Black train porter serving white passengers in 1929, bringing to life an important part of Black history in Canada. Mayr’s writing has been praised for its affecting and visceral qualities, with readers feeling the rocking of the train as they read.

The rest of the shortlist is made up of U.S. authors: Daphne Palasi Andreades for “Brown Girls’,” Fatimah Asghar for “When We Were Sisters,” Talia Lakshmi Kolluri for “What We Fed to the Manticore,” and Alexis Schaitkin for “Elsewhere.” Each runner-up will receive $12,500US.

The prize is named in honour of the late American-born and Canadian-based author Carol Shields, who was dedicated to promoting the recognition of women writer’s voices and lives. The award ceremony will take place in Nashville on May 4, 2023.

The Carol Shields Prize for Fiction is a significant recognition of the literary achievements of women and non-binary writers in North America, and the shortlisted authors represent a wide range of experiences and perspectives. Mayr’s nomination is a testament to her writing talent and her contribution to amplifying marginalized voices in Canadian and American literature.