The winner of Canada's most prestigious literary prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, was announced this evening at a gala in Toronto. The winner of the award will be given $50,000 and sales for their book is expected to increase dramatically.
Held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Toronto, this year's gala was hosted by Jian Ghomeshi and each book presented by a fellow Canadian celebrity.
This year, Kim Cattrall from Sex and the City fame presented Nancy Richler's 'The Imposter Bride', comedian and political satirist Rick Mercer presented the book '419' by Will Ferguson, Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman presented Kim Thuy's 'Ru', Olympic Gold Medalist for Trampoline Rosie MacLennan presented Alix Ohlin's 'Inside' and actor Allan Hawco (Republic of Doyle) presented Russell Wangersky's 'Whirl Away'. Musician Jacob Hoggard, front-man for Hedley, performed as dancers from the National Ballet of Canada danced on stage.
Opening the envelope to reveal the winner, Jack Rabinovich, who started the Giller Prize 18 years ago, reminded the audience that for the price of going out for dinner in Toronto, you can buy all the books on the shortlist; advising us to stay at home and read.
This year's winner is Will Ferguson, for his novel '419'. Set in Canada and Africa, Ferguson writes a fictional, yet all too real story about the infamous 419 online scamming emails.
Will Ferguson is from Calgary, Alberta and has spent many years travelling the world, which he's used to write travel memoirs. He's written novels and is also a well known humourist. He has written a series of humour books and has won the Leacock Medal for Humour three times.
Will Ferguson accepted his award donning a family kilt and brought with him a flask. He toasted the written word and the audience joined in with glasses raised.
This year's shortlist was announced on October 1, 2012. Digital Journal has reviewed the books on this year's shortlist, which can be read here:
Nancy Richler - The Imposter Bride (HarperCollins)Will Ferguson - 419 (Viking)Alix Ohlin - Inside (Anansi)Russell Wangersky - Whirl Away (Thomas Allen Publishers)Kim Thuy - Ru (Vintage Canada)
A jury is selected every year to go through more than 100 books put forth by publishers all over Canada. The jury selects a longlist, of approximately a dozen books. The list is then narrowed down to five, to create a shortlist. This year, the jury was American author and satirist Gary Shteyngart, Canadian publisher, essayist and writer Anna Porter, and Irish author and screenwriter, Roddy Doyle.
The Scotiabank Giller Prize was started 18 years ago by Jack Rabinovich in remembrance for his wife, Doris Giller, a well known and respected literary journalist. The prize is awarded each year to a Canadian writer of fiction. Last years winner was Esi Edugyan for her novel Half-Blood Blues.