There’s big news in Canadian letters today: The purse for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize doubles this year, with $50,000 going to the winner and $5,000 going to each of the finalists. (Previously, the grand prize was $25,000, with runners up winning $2,500 each.) The award is in its 21st year (Chatelaine celebrated its 20th anniversary by polling past winners about their picks for must-read Canadian literature), and has honoured some of this country’s best-known authors, including Miriam Toews, Emma Donoghue and Alice Munro. Below, we revisit eight spectacular titles that have taken the prize in the past.
This year’s five nominees will be announced on Sept. 27, and the winner will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony in Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio on Nov. 14.
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The Origin Of Waves, by Austin Clarke, 1997
The inaugural winner by Barbadian-Canadian writer Clarke, who died in 2016 at age 81, tells the story of two friends who meet after 50 years on a snowy night in a Toronto bar and reflect on their idyllic childhoods in Barbados, their experiences as immigrants in Canada and the U.S., and the loves of their lives.