English professor named finalist for Canadian Scotiabank Giller Prize

Author: Mary Kinney

Novelist Dionne Irving Bremyer, an associate professor in the Department of English at Notre Dame, has recently been recognized as one of five finalists for the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The honor is for Irving Bremyer’s short story collection The Islands, which follows the lives of Jamaican women — immigrants or the descendants of immigrants — who have relocated all over the world to escape the ghosts of colonialism.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is the Canadian equivalent of the National Book Award, and a five-person jury considered 145 titles for the award before announcing a five-book shortlist. In addition to Irving Bremyer, finalists included Eleanor Catton, Kevin Chong, CS Richardson, and winner Sarah Bernstein. The prize was founded by Jack Rabinovitch in memory of his late wife, the literary journalist Doris Giller. 

Dionne Bremyer400
Dionne Irving Bremyer

“Having stories that represent the diaspora recognized in Canada is deeply personal for me, and gratifying beyond words,” Irving Bremyer said. “That the Giller Prize continues to represent diverse stories and a multitude of voices is a testament to the importance of the prize not just for writers, but for all of Canada.”

The Islands has received numerous accolades this year, including being named a finalist for the 2023 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the United States’ most prestigious peer-juried prize for novels and short stories. It also received positive reviews from The New York Times and Chicago Review of Books, among others.

Irving Bremyer, who teaches in the Creative Writing Program and is faculty fellow of the Initiative on Race and Resilience, writes fiction and nonfiction that investigates and questions personal, cultural, and national hybridity emergent in a postcolonial world.

She has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes and has been awarded two Tennessee Williams scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and a scholarship and residency from the Voices of Our Nation Writers Conference.

“I never even dreamed of this as a young Canadian writer, and I’ve looked to the Giller year after year for inspiration,” Irving Bremyer said. “It’s an honor to be chosen from not just this shortlisted group of writers, but from the long-list, too — and the many, many deserving writers beyond that.”