Canadian citizen, M.G. Vassanji, is an author who won the first Giller Prize, on November 2, 1994, for English fiction – The Book of Secrets. He also received the $25,000 prize that goes with it.
This wasn’t Vassanji’s only award. He’s also received Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1990; the Harbourfront Festival Prize in 1994; Also in 1994, he was one of a dozen authors to achieve the Maclean’s Magazine’s Honour Roll. In 2003, he won another Giller award; In 2005, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. (I am officially jealous!) You can learn more about him from his Official Webpage.
But what exactly is the Giller Award?
The award is named in honor of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband, Jack Rabinovitch, and is sponsored by Scotiabank. The contest is open to English-language Canadian fiction including translations. In 1994, the award came with a prize of $25,000; today, the award is $50,000, plus $5,000 for each author on the short list.
Previous Scotiabank Giller award winners are:
- M. G. Vassanji, The Book of Secrets (1994)
- Rohinton Mistry A Fine Balance(1995)
- Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace (1996)
- Mordecai Richler, Barney’s Version (1997)
- Alice Munro, The Love Of A Good Woman (1998)
- Bonnie Burnard, Good House (1999)
- Michael Ondaatje, Anil’s Ghost and
David Adams Richards, Mercy Among the Children (2000) *
- Richard B. Wright, Clara Callan (2001)
- Austin Clarke, The Polished Hoe (2002)
- M. G. Vassanji, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall (2003)
- Alice Munro, Runaway (2004)
- David Bergen, The Time in Between (2005)
- Vincent Lam, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures: Stories (2006)
- Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air (2007)
- Joseph Boyden, Through Black Spruce (2008)
- Linden MacIntyre, The Bishop’s Man (2009)
- Johanna Skibsrud, The Sentimentalists (2010)
- Esi Edugyan, Half-Blood Blues: A Novel (2011)
- Will Ferguson,419: A Novel (2012)
- Dennis Bock for Going Home Again
- Lynn Coady for Hellgoing: Stories
- Craig Davidson for Cataract City
- Lisa Moore for Caught
- Dan Vyleta for Crooked Maid
There are a few ways to stay on top of the news about the Gillar Award. The obvious place to start is at the Scotiabank Giller Prize Website. Then there are two social media venues, Twitter and Facebook. Finally, there’s also the Canadian Encyclopedia.
So on November 5, 2013, let’s raise a glass of water for not just the winner, nor just those who made it on the shortlist, but to every author out there who work hard to bring you the best of Canadian fiction!
- Surprise! 20 years of the Giller Prize (macleans.ca)
- Lisa Moore, Lynn Coady shortlisted for $50K Giller Prize (cbc.ca)
- Atwood, MacIntyre, Vassanji and Clarke talk writing and the Gillers (theglobeandmail.com)
- That Time I Decided I Was Over the Giller Prize (marginaliaeditorial.com)
- Giller Prize Winner 419 (recordedbooksblog.com)
- Scotiabank Giller prize long list announced in Vancouver (blogs.vancouversun.com)
- Boyden, Winter make Giller prize long list (metronews.ca)