Last night at the 26th annual Scotiabank Giller Prize awards ceremony, hosted by Canadian singer-songwriter Jann Arden, author Ian Williams was named the winner for his novel Reproduction. On top of the esteem that comes with winning, Williams also receives a $100,000 prize courtesy of Scotiabank.
The finalists for this years awards included Williams, David Bezmozgis for his short story collection Immigrant City, Megan Gail Coles for her novel Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club, Michael Crummey for his novel The Innocents, Alix Ohlin for her novel Dual Citizens and Steven Price for his novel Lampedusa. The shortlist, and the winner, were selected by a five-member jury panel that included Canadian authors Donna Bailey Nurse, Randy Boyagoda (jury chair) and Canadian playwright José Teodoro, Scottish-Sierra Leonean author Aminatta Forna and Bosnian-American author Aleksandar (Sasha) Hemon.
In a released statement, the jury said about their choice that “Ian Williams’s Reproduction is many things at once. It’s an engrossing story of disparate people brought together and also a masterful unfolding of unexpected connections and collisions between and across lives otherwise separated by race, class, gender and geography. It’s a pointed and often playful plotting out of individual and shared stories in the close spaces of hospital rooms, garages, mansions and apartments, and a symphonic performance of resonant and dissonant voices, those of persons wanting to impress, persuade, deny, or beguile others, and always trying again.”
In the past Willliams has been named one of CBC’s ten Canadian writers to watch, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for his book Not Anyone’s Anything and been a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry. His book Personals is also shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award. Besides writing, Williams is also an assistant professor of poetry in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia.
The Giller Prize was founded in 1994, and highlights the best in Canadian fiction every year. In 2005 the prize teamed up with Scotiabank, who not only awards the winner with $100,000, but also gives $10,000 to each of the finalists.