Friday, November 12, 2010

Johanna Skibsrud 2010 winner of Scotiabank Giller Prize


Johanna Skibsrud was named the 2010 winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel The Sentimentalists, published by Gaspereau Press.

The announcement was made at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony in Toronto that included nearly 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities. It was hosted by CTV's Seamus O'Regan, and is now available on CTV.ca. Presenters included 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Linda MacIntyre; singer-songwriter Anne Murray; Macleans columnist and author Barbara Amiel Black; CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme; Blue Rodeo front man and musician Jim Cuddy.

As the largest annual literary prize in Canada, the Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $50,000 to the author of the bet Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. Each of the finalists receives $5,000. The finalists included:

  • David Bergen for his novel The Matter with Morris, Phyllis Bruce Books/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • Alexander MacLeod for his short story collection Light Lifting, published by Biblioasis
  • Sarah Selecky for her short story collection This Cake is for the Party, Thomas Allen Publishers
  • Johanna Skibsrud for her novel The Sentimentalists, Gaspereau Press
  • Kathleen Winter for her novel Annabel, House of Anansi Press
The shortlist was selected from 98 books submitted by 38 publishing houses in Canada. The jury panel included Canadian broadcaster and journalist Michael Enright, American writer and professor Claire Messud and award-winning UK author Ali Smith.

Here's what the jury remarked about Skibsrud's book: "The Sentimentalists charts the painful search by a dutiful daughter to learn -- and more importantly, to learn to understand -- the multi-layered truth which lies at them oral core of her dying father's life. Something happened to Napoleon Haskell during his tour of duty in Vietnam that changed his life and haunted the rest of his days. At the behest of his daughters, he moves from a trailer in North Dakota to a small lakeside town in Ontario where his family can only watch as his past slips away in a descending fog of senility. The writing here is trip-wire taut as the exploration of guilt, family and duty unfolds."