Award winners have Island connections
Gabriola Island writer Iain Lawrence has won the $20,000 Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature.
The award was announced as part of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Awards ceremony in Toronto on Tuesday night. The Vicky Metcalf Award is given to a writer of children’s literature in recognition of his or her entire body of work. Past winners include Metchosin’s Polly Horvath and Toronto’s Kenneth Oppel, a Victoria native.
Commenting on the honour, Lawrence — who has no specific plans for his award money — said: “It’s wonderful.” In 2007 he re- ceived a Governor General’s Literary Award for his novel, Gemini Summer. His latest book for young people is The Winter Pony.
Meanwhile, Patrick de Witt, author of the genre-bending western The Sisters Brothers, captured the first major Canadian fiction prize of the year, when his novel won the $25,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize at an awards ceremony Tuesday.
The jury described the book as “unlike any you may read during this or the coming years” and “unforgettable.”
The British Columbia-born, Portland, Oregon-based novelist has enjoyed a spectacular year. The Sisters Brothers, published by House of Anansi, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize (which was ultimately won by Julian Barnes) and is also nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize.
The other finalists, who each receive $2,500, were Clark Blaise for The Meagre Tarmac; Michael Christie for The Beggar’s Garden; Dan Vyleta for The Quiet Twin; and Esi Edugyan of Victoria for Half-blood Blues. Like dewitt, Edugyan’s novel, about the fate of a missing Afro-german jazz musician who was arrested by the Nazis during the Second World War, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is nominated for the Giller Prize, which will be awarded next week, and the Governor General’s Literary Award, the winner of which will be announced in mid-november.
In total, the jury of Emma Donoghue, Rabindranath Maharaj and Margaret Sweatman considered 120 books submitted by 53 publishers across the country.