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Johanna Skibsrud

21 April 2011 | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

The 2010 Giller Prize winner Johanna Skibsrud discusses her debut novel The Sentimentalists (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011), the sales and attention it got, writing, and more, with Joseph Planta.

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud. (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011)

Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: The Sentimentalists

Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver at TheCommentary.ca.

Johanna Skibsrud’s first novel, The Sentimentalists won the 2010 Giller Prize. She became the youngest winner in the prize’s history, and has gone on to great acclaim. The book is about a daughter who after her own drama, decides to live with her estranged father in a fictional Ontario town called Casablanca. There, she draws out her father hoping to understand him better and the horrors he witnessed in Vietnam. It’s a challenging read in that you think about family, fathers, daughters, war, and memory. When the book was nominated for the Giller very few copies of the book could be found, as its original publisher Gaspereau Press had only printed something like less than a thousand copies. I think they’re the only press in the country that prints and publishes their own books. The whole confluence of the current realities of the book trade came together with the critical success of this book. We saw how the small press is coping in the shadow of the big chains. Right after the book won the prize, The Sentimentalists was a big hit electronically. And then Douglas & McIntyre, here in Vancouver, entered the scene when it was licensed the book’s trade paperback rights, thereby ensuring less than 10 days after the Giller Prize win, the book could be had in the tens of thousands. Johanna Skibsrud joins me now from here in Vancouver to tell us more about this book, what winning the Giller was like, and more. The original book can be had through Gaspereau’s website at www.gaspereau.com. And the trade paperback from Douglas & McIntyre can be had at sundry book stores across the land. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, Johanna Skibsrud; Good morning, Ms. Skibsrud.