Scotiabank Giller Prize | The Prize

History of The Prize

The Giller Prize was founded in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, who passed away from cancer the year before. The award recognized excellence in Canadian fiction - long format or short stories - and endowed a cash prize annually of $25,000.00, the largest purse for literature in the country.

The launch of The Giller Prize coincided with a growing recognition of Canadian authors and literature both at home and abroad. With such acclaimed writers as Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Mordecai Richler winning honours and accolades around the world, the popularity of Canadian literature has continued to flourish.

The Giller Prize, along with many other awards that came before and after, is in large part responsible for this explosion of talent and exposure. More than 2.5 million Giller-nominated books were sold in the first 10 years of the prize. Over $60 million dollars in book sales to date have been generated as a direct result of the prize. The Giller Prize has so far endowed nearly half a million dollars to Canadian writers from coast to coast.

The Prize Today

In 2005, The Giller Prize teamed up with Scotiabank to create The Scotiabank Giller Prize. It is the first ever co-sponsorship for Canada's richest literary award for fiction. Under the new agreement, the purse doubled, growing to $70,000 with $50,000 going to the winner, and $5,000 being given to each of the four finalists.

"This new relationship ensures that the prize will endure far into the future," said Jack Rabinovitch. "Scotiabank's enthusiasm for The Giller Prize and more importantly, for the promotion of great Canadian literature, convinced us they'd be the ideal partner," he added.

Rick Waugh, Scotiabank's President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) believes the association is a perfect fit for the bank, underscoring their commitment to building and supporting communities, both in Canada and abroad.

"Literature is a cornerstone for arts and culture in Canada and Scotiabank is proud to support and celebrate the literary accomplishments and aspirations of Canadian writers," said Waugh. "At Scotiabank we realize that we have a responsibility to assist a much broader spectrum of stakeholders. We believe our sponsorships and donations are intrinsically linked to the goals we have set for ourselves as an organization."

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2004 the Bank provided more than $33 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education and social services. Scotiabank is on the World Wide Web at