Commonwealth prize shortlists Munro, Behrens

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Author Peter Behrens shows off his baby, The Law Of Dreams.

Alice Munro and Peter Behrens are two of the homegrown authors vying for this year’s Commonwealth Writers Prize.

Behrens, who was born in Montreal but currently lives in Brooklin, Maine, was shortlisted for The Law Of Dreams, which has already won the Governor General’s award.

Munro, whose glittering career has already earned her a host of literary prizes, was cited for The View From Castle Rock. She divides her time between Ontario and British Columbia.

Other best-book finalists are Mark Frutkin of Ottawa for Fabrizio’s Return, Toronto-raised Claire Messud, who lives in Massachusetts, for The Emperor’s Children, Nega Mezlekia of Toronto for The Unfortunate Marriage and New Brunswick-born David Adams Richards for The Friends Of Meager Fortune.

The shortlist for best first book includes Toronto resident Anar Ali for Baby Khaki’s Wings, Montreal resident D.Y. Bechard for Vandal Love, Rawi Hage, also of Montreal, for De Niro’s Game, Nathan Sellyn of Vancouver, for Indigenous Beasts and Russell Wangersky of St. John’s, N.L., for The Hour Of Bad Decisions.

Canada and the Caribbean are grouped together in one region for the preliminary round of the prize. Once the best book and best first book are picked from the region, they will compete with books from other Commonwealth regions around the globe for the main awards.

The main prize is about $23,000 Cdn for the author of the best book and $11,000 for the author of the best first book. The final awards will be announced in May in Jamaica.

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