Alice Munro recently withdrew her new collection of short stories, Too Much Happiness, from the running of the Giller Prize, Canada's best known literary prize. Her reason was that she had won twice already and wanted to open up the field to younger writers.
She is a class act, to be sure (though the vocal folks at Bookninja might tell you otherwise). First, it signals that Munro is that rare breed of writer who loves her craft, everything else be damned. Awards are meaningless to her, so are tribute events, if we can judge by how reluctant Munro is to travel to them.
However, without Munro I feel sure that Atwood is going to take the cake for The Year of the Flood and if the cake is so simple to take, what's the fun in that? What's the fun in the Giller, in general? The prize winners are so CanLit they practically ooze maple syrup - Elizabeth Hay, Vassanji (twice), Ondaatje, Richler, even Atwood, who won in 1996 for Alias Grace.
As Canada Reads has become Canada Re-Reads, the Gillers are the Going to Win Regardless-es.
At least if Atwood wins this year it will be for a sci-fi novel. Oops. Except she totally does not want you to ghettoize her work like that, right?