"Our jury got a pretty fascinating read on Canada when we received, in three frighteningly giant boxes over six months, nearly one hundred and thirty of the country’s finest works of fiction written in a twelve-month period.
The phenomenal diversity of novels, short story collections, and books that bent the genres to be neither one nor the other, was somewhat expected by our jury of three. Less expected was the definite appearance of a few highly identifiable themes playing on the minds of Canadian writers from all sorts of different backgrounds. Canadian literary juries have joked, in the past, about the preponderance of trees, forests, and woodsy cabins by or in woods, but this year the type of nature written up again and again — wildly, poetically, and often with so much wonder and longing it could take on the feel of dreamscape — was less solid. Canadian writers had water on the brain, an inner life aquatic. There were books about fish, and books about whales, books about life-changing journeys by boat, and roiling seas, and spooky lakes, and ponds filled with water nymphs soaked in seaweed.
Also of note were the number of books about far-flung, closed-off, or somehow intentional communities, a theme that can almost be seen as a response to the aforementioned, oft-stormy waters — a will to protect, a battening of hatches. We were one judge in Montreal, one in Toronto, and one in Victoria, but this year’s shortlist is majority coastal, with three of the five shortlisted authors making their homes on the west coast. Though we worked tirelessly to champion our individual favourite books, ours was not a warring jury but a peaceful one, rife with consensus and admiration, almost from the start. We love the works of fiction we’ve chosen as Canada’s best of the year. We think they are some of the best books in the world now. And we hope you will too."
— 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury (Ann Y.K. Choi, Mireille Silcoff, Robert Wiersema)