Vic­to­ria au­thor Esi Edugyan ‘thrilled’ and ‘floored’ to be back in Giller Prize spot­light

StarMetro Edmonton - - DAILY LIFE - MARY GETANEH Edugyan says “it’s im­por­tant to know what is in our past.” Full story at thes­­gary

CAL­GARY—When Esi Edugyan found out she was on the short list for this year’s Sco­tia­bank Giller Prize, it was in the midst of chaos — her young chil­dren had just gone out the door for school, leav­ing be­hind a mess in their wake.

She paused from clean­ing to watch the an­nounce­ment through an on­line livestream. When her name was an­nounced as one of the five au­thors left in the run­ning for the cov­eted book prize, she was in shock.

“I’m gen­uinely sur­prised that this has hap­pened again.

You never get used to it. It’s al­ways won­der­ful and thrilling and a huge hon­our,” Edugyan said speak­ing from Vic­to­ria.

“I won the prize with my last book, so to be short­listed again, I was floored.” (The win­ner of the $100,000 award will be an­nounced Nov. 19.)

In 2011, the Cal­gary-born au­thor won the Giller for her se­cond novel Half-Blood Blues. There are talks of the crit­i­cally ac­claimed novel be­ing made into a movie. Edugyan said the rights for the book have been op­tioned by a Ger­man pro­ducer. Now, she’s en­ter­ing the ring again, with her novel Wash­ing­ton Black con­tend­ing for one of Canada’s top lit­er­ary prizes.

Wash­ing­ton Black is about an 11-year-old field slave in Bar­ba­dos who finds him­self se­lected as a per­sonal ser­vant of the plan­ta­tion mas­ter — a nat­u­ral­ist, ex­plorer, sci­en­tist, in­ven­tor and abo­li­tion­ist whose sin­gle-minded pur­suit of the per­fect aerial ma­chine mys­ti­fies all around him. His plans are soon shat­tered and Wash­ing­ton finds his life in dan­ger.

Esi Edugyan says she felt “a sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity” to guard against bar­bar­ity.

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