Eden Robinson, Gregory Scofield, Yasuko Thanh among 2016 Writers' Trust Prize winners


From left to right: Eden Robinson (photo: Mark Raynes Roberts) Gregory Scofield and Yasuko Thanh all pick up 2016 Writers' Trust Prize honours.

The 2016 Writers' Trust Awards were announced on Nov. 2 in Toronto. The prizes, which include honours for individual works and bodies of work, come with a combined purse of $219,000.

Vancouver author and journalist Deborah Campbell won the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for her book A Disappearance in DamascusThe annual prize awards $60,000 to the best in Canadian nonfiction.

In A Disappearance in Damascus, Campbell chronicles her friendship with Ahlam, an Iraqi refugee working as a fixer for journalists in Syria. Ahlam's educational initiatives for refugees draw unwanted attention from the authorities and leads to her disappearance. She is later released from captivity and immigrates to the U.S. with her young children.

"Campbell's account..., written with compelling prose, nuanced context and intimate narration, illuminates the dangers of life and work in a conflict zone," the jury, comprised of Carolyn Abraham, Stephen Kimber and Emily Urquhart, wrote in a press release.

Victoria, B.C. writer Yasuko Thanh won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction prize, an annual $25,000 award honouring Canadian fiction for her debut novel Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains.

The jury praised Thanh for her "compelling narrative drive." Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains is set in Vietnam in the early 1900s, during French colonial rule.

"Yasuko Thanh imbues Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains with atmosphere and resonance, and creates mesmerizing characters," judges Lauren B. Davis, Trevor Ferguson and Pasha Malla said in a press release.

Colette Langlois of Edmonton won the $10,000 Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her short story "The Emigrants," published in PRISM International. The story is Langlois' first published work.

Poet Gregory Scofield received the $25,000 Latner's Writers' Trust Poetry Prize for his body of work. Scofield recently released his seventh poetry collection, Witness, I Am, which explores the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

Eden Robinson was honoured for her contributions to Canadian literature with the $25,000 Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award. Robinson is the author of two novels, including the iconic book Monkey Beach and a short story collection. She will release a new novel, Son of a Trickster, in 2017.

Young adult author Alan Cumyn was awarded the $20,000 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People for his body of work. Cumyn is the author of five novels for young readers, most recently Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend.

Brian Brett was recognized for his literary contributions with the $20,000 Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life. Brett, a poet, fiction and memoir writer and journalist, is the author of 12 books, including his award-winning memoir Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and the Scattershot World.

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