Capital Intraconversion' and Canadian Literary Prize Culture
Book History , Volume 20 p. 424- 446
This paper analyzes how the “particular symbolic fortunes” of Canada’s most widely recognized literary prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, undergo what James English calls “capital intraconversion”––how they are “culturally ‘laundered’” through their association with Frontier College, Canada’s longest-running adult literacy organization. While the Giller initially benefitted from fashioning itself as the private, industry-driven alternative to state-sponsored culture in Canada, increasing criticism of its corporate sponsorship has led, in the past decade, to a rebranding effort. This effort, I contend, seeks to benefit from two key terms––multiculturalism and literacy. Associated as the discourse of multiculturalism and the figure of the literate citizen are with the strong publics of the western, liberal-democratic nation-state, they possess a remarkable ability to accentuate the symbolic capital of Canada’s most widely recognized literary prize.