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'I wrote stealthily for 10 years': Giller nominee Michelle Winters

'I wrote stealthily for 10 years': Giller nominee Michelle Winters
From CBC - November 18, 2017

Until recently,Michelle Winters always wrote in secret.

She scribbled away in her apartment on weekends and after she finished her 9-to-5 shift as a translator for a software company in Toronto.

"I wrote stealthily for 10 years," Winters says,"without talking much about it, because there's so little to talk about when you are writing. You are the only one who really finds it interesting."

That's all changed now that Winters' is one of five Canadianwriters shortlisted for the Giller Prize one of Canada's most prestigious fiction awardsfor her book I am a truck.

Winters, originally from New Brunswick,was in her cubicle at work when she got the news. The trouble was, none of her colleagues even knew the 45-year-old wrote fiction.

"I thought I was going cry and throw up spontaneously, and I had to calm myself down," Winters says. "It's the best thing that's ever happened to you and you have to keep quiet."

In the company of giants

Since its inception in 1994 the Giller prize has been won by a who's who of Canadian literary giants, from Margaret Atwood to MordecaiRichler to Alice Munro.

The winner takes home $100,000.

"I'd probably do something really sensible with it, like invest it or put it towarda house," says Winters. "I am trying to be really reasonable about all of this."

Still, Winters admits to being a little like Cinderella these days because her nomination feels too good to be true. Her book I am a truckonly sold300 copies when it came out last year.

"I ca not stress how little expectation I had that this book would get noticed by the Giller jury," she says.

Two years on the 'slush pile'

An underdog story

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