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November 4, 1997

Canada's Premier Prize for Fiction Names A Winner

TORONTO - At a gala dinner and award ceremony that drew over 400 members of the publishing industry and arts community, Mordecai Richler was named as the 1997 winner of The Giller Prize, Canada's premier literary prize for fiction. Mordecai Richler's winning novel, Barney's Version is published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada. The largest annual prize for fiction in the country, The Giller Prize awards $25,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. A shortlist of five finalists was announced on October 1, 1997. Those finalists were:

  • Michael Helm for The Projectionist, published by Douglas & McIntyre
  • Shani Mootoo for Cereus Blooms at Night, published by Press Gang Publishers
  • Nino Ricci for Where She Has Gone, published by McClelland & Stewart
  • Mordecai Richler for Barney's Version, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
  • Carol Shields for Larry's Party, published by Random House of Canada

Selected by a distinguished jury panel, comprised of authors Bonnie Burnard and Mavis Gallant, and writer/broadcaster Peter Gzowski, the finalists were chosen from over 60 books submitted for consideration.

Speaking on behalf of the jury, Peter Gzowski remarked, "Told in the first person, Barney's Version is a belligerent confession. Mordecai Richler allows his narrator to recall his life with absolute freedom: to lie, to tell the truth, to regret, and to refuse to regret. The reader recognizes a kind of love in these pages - the hard kind."

A novelist, essayist and occasional screenwriter, Mordecai Richler is the author of books including The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Joshua Then and Now, This Year in Jerusalem, and Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang. He has twice received the Governor General's Award for Fiction, has twice been shortlisted for The Booker Prize, and has won a Commonwealth Writer's Prize. Born in Montreal in 1931, Mordecai Richler divides his time between London, England, and a home in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

The Giller Prize was founded by Jack Rabinovitch in 1994 in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller.

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