I tried to stay awake to watch the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize that was broadcast on CBC Nov. 8, but jet lag from my recent trip to Manitoba caught up with me.
The 2011 winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize was announced at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony in Toronto hosted by Jian Ghomeshi: Esi Edugyan of Victoria, BC was awarded the top prize for her novel Half-Blood Blues, published by Thomas Allen Publishers. More than 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities were in attendance at The Four Seasons in Yorkville.
Edugyan will receive $50,000 from the largest literary prize in Canada. The other five finalists will each receive $5,000:
- David Bezmogis 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
- 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
"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."