Madeleine Thien wins 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Do Not Say We Have Nothing


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Madeleine Thien has won the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Do Not Say We Have Nothing. The novel also won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction, and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing is a sweeping novel that centres on three gifted musicians whose lives are profoundly impacted by the political shifts of 20th century China.

The jury, comprised of Lawrence Hill, Kathleen Winter, Jeet Heer, Samantha Harvey and Alan Warner, called the book "a beautiful homage to music and to the human spirit." (Scroll down to watch the replay of the prize gala.)


Thien was presented with the $100,000 award by Scotiabank Giller Prize founder Jack Rabinovitch. 

"I wish my mother was here," Thien, the daughter of Malaysian-Chinese immigrants to Canada, said in her acceptance speech. "She arrived in Canada 42 years ago and passed away too young in 2002. She wanted me to be free in this world, to live with confidence, to love and be loved. She taught me how to be kind and how to be brave."

Thien's fellow finalists were:

The morning after her win, Thien announced on CBC Radio's q that Giller finalist Leroux would be translating Do Not Say We Have Nothing into French. The translation publication date hasn't been set, but is estimated to be released the fall of 2018.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is the richest prize in Canadian literature, with the winner taking home $100,000. The remaining finalists each receive $10,000.

Amanda Parris, Gordon Pinsent, Annie Murphy, Catherine Reitman, Ins Choi and Tanya Tagaq presented each of the shortlisted authors. The evening was hosted by The Debaters' Steve Patterson.

The Giller Prize has been awarded annually since 1994. Past winners include Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, Michael Ondaatje, Austin Clarke and Joseph Boyden.

André Alexis won in 2015 for his novel Fifteen Dogs.

Watch the replay of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize gala:

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