Michael Redhill wins the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Bellevue Square
Michael Redhill has won the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Bellevue Square.
"I've been telling a close friend of mine this fall that, to judge by all the things that have been happening to me, I must be in a coma. But if I am, you are all too, so let's not wake up from it," said Redhill in his acceptance speech.
Bellevue Square follows Jean Mason, a woman who finds out that she may have a doppelgänger in the Toronto neighbourhood of Kensington Market. When Jean decides to investigate, she sets off a chain of events that put her through a mental and emotional wringer.
The jury, comprised of Canadian authors Anita Rau Badami, André Alexis and Lynn Coady, along with American writer Nathan Englander and British author Richard Beard, said, "Let's look past the complex literary wonders of this book, the doppelgangers and bifurcated brains and alternate selves, the explorations of family, community, mental health and literary life. Let's stay straightforward, and tell you that beyond the mysterious elements, this novel is warm and funny and smart."
The Scotiabank Giller Prize is the richest literary award for a work of fiction in Canada, with the winner taking home $100,000. The remaining finalists each receive $10,000. The prize, which has been awarded annually since 1994, was founded by the late Jack Rabinovitch, who died earlier this year at the age of 87.
Redhill was presented with the $100,000 award by Elana Rabinovitch, the daughter of Jack Rabinovitch, and Scotiabank's executive vice president and chief marketing officer John Doig.
Redhill thanked several authors, including Michael Ondaatje and Linda Spalding, as well as the Giller Prize in his speech. He became emotional when thanking his mother, who attended the gala.
"Our house was full of books because of [my mom]. Because of her love of reading, I wanted to make her books," said Redhill.
"I think some of [my books] have really freaked [her] out. But I know you're proud of me and I'm very lucky to celebrate with you tonight."
Last year's winner was Madeleine Thien for her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing.