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November 3, 1998

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, Alice Munro was named as the 1998 winner of The Giller Prize, Canada's premier literary prize for fiction. Alice Munro's winning collection of short stories, The Love of a Good Woman, is published by McClelland & Stewart / A Douglas Gibson Book. The largest annual prize for fiction in the country, The Giller Prize awards $25,000 each year to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. A shortlist of six finalists was announced on October 5, 1998.

Those finalists were:

  • André Alexis for Childhood, published by McClelland & Stewart
  • Gail Anderson-Dargatz for A Recipe for Bees, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
  • Barbara Gowdy for The White Bone, published by HarperFlamingoCanada
  • Greg Hollingshead for The Healer, published by HarperFlamingoCanada / A Phyllis Bruce Book
  • Wayne Johnston for The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
  • Alice Munro for The Love of a Good Woman, published by McClelland & Stewart / A Douglas Gibson Book

Selected by a distinguished jury panel, comprised of authors Margaret Atwood and Guy Vanderhaeghe and writer/broadcaster Peter Gzowski, the finalists were chosen from over 60 books submitted for consideration.

Of the winning book, the jury remarked, "The Love of a Good Woman is a collection of eight short stories which probes the heart of love. These stories are lit with the startling insights characteristic of the very best short fiction, what Nadine Gordimer has called 'the flash of fireflies.' The work of a mature vision, they shed another kind of light, one with the strength to illuminate whole worlds."

Alice Munro has won the Governor General's Award three times, for Dance of the Happy Shades (1968), for Who Do You Think You Are? (1978), and for The Progress of Love (1986), which was also selected as one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times. Her last new collection, Open Secrets, won the W.H. Smith Award for the best book published in the U.K. in 1995. In 1996, The New York Times listed Selected Stories among the top eight fiction books of the year, and in December, 1997, she was the first non-American to receive the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction.

The Giller Prize was founded by Jack Rabinovitch in 1994 in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller. This year marks the fifth anniversary of The Giller Prize and was the first time ever that the awards were broadcast live: Bravo! NewStyleArtsChannel aired the proceedings from 9 to 10 p.m. EST.

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