Local author Cedar Bowers has been named as a long-list nominee for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s top literary honour.
Bowers, who divides her time between Victoria and Galiano Island, has been nominated for her first novel, Astra, published by McClelland & Stewart.
The short list for the Giller Prize will be announced October 5 and the winner will be named at a televised ceremony on November 8.
Astra is described by promotional material as “a beguiling debut novel that reveals the different faces of one woman, as seen through the eyes of 10 people over a lifetime.”
It continues: “Born and raised on a remote British Columbia commune, Astra Brine has long struggled to find her way in the world, her life becoming a study of the thin line between dependence and love, need and desire. Over the years, as her path intersects with others—sometimes briefly, but always intensely—she will encounter people who, by turns, want to rescue, control, become and escape her, revealing difficult yet shining truths about who they are and what they yearn for.
“There is the childhood playmate who comes to fear Astra’s unpredictable ways; the stranger who rescues her from homelessness, and then has to wrestle with his own demons; the mother who hires Astra as a live-in nanny even as her own marriage goes off the rails; the man who takes a leap of faith and marries her.
“Even as Astra herself remains the elusive yet compelling axis around which these narratives turn, her story reminds us of the profound impact that a woman can have on those around her, and the power struggles at play in all our relationships, no matter how intimate. A beautifully constructed and revelatory novel, Astra explores what we’re willing to give and receive from others, and how well we ever really know the people we love the most.”
Bower’s fiction has been published in Joyland, Taddle Creek and The Malahat Magazine.
She lives with her husband, novelist Michael Christie, and their two children.