Caribbean-Born Writer Wins $100,000 Top Canadian Literary Prize

Caribbean-Born Writer Wins Top Canadian Literary Prize

Ian Williams, who was born in Trinidad, has received the foremost Canadian literary prize for his first novel, which is entitled “Reproduction.” In addition to the honor associated with winning the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Williams will receive its monetary award of $100,000. “Reproduction,” which was published by Random House Canada, tells the story of a serious teen who comes from a small island country and who meets the disaffected heir set to inherit a German family fortune. The two make acquaintance in the hospital room shared by their dying mothers. Throughout “Reproduction,” the author presents a tangled narrative that challenges the conventions of traditional novels. In presenting the prize to Williams, the selection jury noted that the novel “is many things at once. It’s an engrossing story of disparate people brought together and also a masterful unfolding of unexpected connections and collisions between and across lives otherwise separated by race, class, gender and geography.” The Jury also cited the book’s “pointed and often playful plotting.” Upon winning the award, Williams share the story of how the first book he purchased with his own money was by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, who was in the audience at the prize ceremony.

Williams migrated to Canada from Trinidad with his family in the late 1980s and stated that he knew,from an early age that the things most important to him were people and communication. He knew he wanted a career that would be a combination of those two elements. Williams has written several other books, including “Personal,” which was on the shortlist for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award; His book “Not Anyone’s Anything” won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for Best First Collection Of Short Fiction in Canada. ‘You Know Who You Are,’ was a finalist for the ReLit Prize for poetry. Williams was recognized as one of the 10 Canadian Writers to Watch by CBC. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Toronto and currently works as an assistant professor of poetry in the creative writing of the University of British Columbia. In 2014-2015, Williams was the Canadian Writer in Residence in the Distinguished Writers Program at the University of Calgary.

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