The 2002 Giller Prize - News

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November 5, 2002
Canada's Premier Prize for Fiction Names a Winner

TORONTO - At a gala dinner and award ceremony that drew over 450 members of the publishing, media and arts communities, Austin Clarke was named the 2002 winner of The Giller Prize, Canada's premier literary prize for fiction. Austin Clarke's winning novel, The Polished Hoe, is published by Thomas Allen Publishers. 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 five finalists was announced on October 3, 2002. Those finalists were:

  • Austin Clarke for his novel The Polished Hoe, published by Thomas Allen Publishers
  • Bill Gaston for his short story collection Mount Appetite, published by Raincoast Books
  • Wayne Johnston for his novel The Navigator of New York, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
  • Lisa Moore for her short story collection Open, published by House of Anansi Press
  • Carol Shields for her novel Unless, published by Random House Canada

    More Info on Finalists

Selected by a distinguished jury panel, comprised of authors Barbara Gowdy and Thomas King, and scholar and academic Bill New, the finalists were chosen from 94 books submitted for consideration.

Of the winning book, the jury remarked, "Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe is a symphony of Caribbean life and history that arranges the jangle of race and class, rage and passion into an eloquent composition, part slave narrative, part love ballad, part Shakespearean opera, sung against the backdrop of one woman's life. A master of narrative strategies and orchestrations, Clarke creates in Mary Mathilda an evocative and elegant voice that turns the written word into oral performance and fills our imaginations with the smells and sounds and silences of a world seldom seen and little understood."

Austin Clarke is the author of five short story collections and nine novels, including The Origin of Waves and The Question. He is the winner of the 1999 W.O. Mitchell Prize, awarded each year to a Canadian writer who has produced an outstanding body of work and served as a mentor for other writers. Austin Clarke lives in Toronto.

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

For the fifth year, the awards were broadcast live on Bravo! NewStyleArtsChannel.
CBC TV will run a one-hour version tonight at 11:30 p.m. EST

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