Esi Edugyan Wins The 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize

TORONTO, Nov. 8, 2011 /CNW/ - Esi Edugyan has been named the 2011 winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel Half-Blood Blues, published by Thomas Allen Publishers. The announcement was made at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony hosted by Jian Ghomeshi, attended by over 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities. The gala was broadcast live on CBC's bold, livestreamed on, and aired on CBC Television at 11:05 p.m. (11:35 p.m. NT).

The largest annual literary prize in the country, the Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $50,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $5,000 to each of the finalists. A shortlist of six authors and their books was announced on October 4, 2011. Those finalists were:

  • David Bezmozgis for his novel THE FREE WORLD, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
  • Lynn Coady for her novel THE ANTAGONIST, published by House of Anansi Press
  • Patrick deWitt for his novel THE SISTERS BROTHERS, published by House of Anansi Press
  • Esi Edugyan for her novel HALF-BLOOD BLUES, published by Thomas Allen Publishers
  • Zsuzsi Gartner for her short story collection BETTER LIVING THROUGH PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada
  • Michael Ondaatje for his novel THE CAT'S TABLE, published by McClelland & Stewart

The shortlist and ultimate winner were selected by an esteemed jury panel made up of award-winning Canadian writer and 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist Annabel Lyon; American author, memoirist and Guggenheim fellow Howard Norman; and acclaimed UK playwright and prize-winning novelist Andrew O'Hagan.

The shortlist was chosen from an unprecedented 143 books submitted for consideration by 55 publishing houses from every region of the country.

Of the winning book, the jury wrote:

"Imagine Mozart were a black German trumpet player and Salieri a bassist, and 18th century Vienna were WWII Paris; that's Esi Edugyan's joyful lament, Half-Blood Blues.  It's conventional to liken the prose in novels about jazz to the music itself, as though there could be no higher praise. In this case, say rather that any jazz musician would be happy to play the way Edugyan writes.  Her style is deceptively conversational and easy, but with the simultaneous exuberance and discipline of a true prodigy.  Put this book next to Louis Armstrong's "West End Blues" - these two works of art belong together."

Esi Edugyan has degrees from the University of Victoria and Johns Hopkins University. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, including Best New American Voices 2003. Her debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne was published internationally to critical acclaim. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

During tonight's award ceremony, a roster of celebrity presenters - actress Lisa Ray, actor and producer Zaib Shaikh, recording artist Robbie Robertson, singer/songwriter Nelly Furtado, sports broadcaster Ron Maclean, and Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard - presented video profiles of the shortlisted authors highlighting their nominated books.

About CBC/Radio-Canada
CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its largest cultural institutions. The Corporation is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms and delivers a comprehensive range of radio, television, Internet, and satellite-based services. Deeply rooted in the regions, CBC/Radio-Canada is the only domestic broadcaster to offer diverse regional and cultural perspectives in English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, plus seven languages for international audiences. In 2011, CBC/Radio-Canada is celebrating 75 years of serving Canadians and being at the centre of the democratic, social and cultural life of Canada.

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The Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $50,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $5,000 to each of the finalists.  The Scotiabank Giller Prize is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch.

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