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 cbc.ca/books, 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.
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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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