In 2002, Vincent Lam was a young doctor serving on an Arctic cruise ship. One day, he had a chance encounter with the literary guest on one particular voyage -- Margaret Atwood. He used the opportunity to ask Atwood to read his writing and offer some feedback.
She did. Four years later, Atwood was there at the Scotiabank Giller Prize gala when Lam was named the 2006 winner for his short story collection Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
The interconnected stories drew from his own pressure-filled experiences going through medical school and practicing in hospitals. Lam, the son of Chinese immigrants from Vietnam, said he was "astonished" to win.
"Luck is not what it seems and most of it falls into the category of
divine blessing or people who have been kind to you," he said during his acceptance speech, making it a point to thank Atwood.
In this interview shortly after winning the prize, Lam explains that while his book is about medicine, it's primarily an exploration of the characters -- the human beings behind the white coats.
2006 Shortlist:Vincent Lam - Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures
Rawi Hage - De Niro's Game
Pascale Quiviger - The Perfect Circle (translation by Sheila Fischman)
Gaétan Soucy - The Immaculate Conception (translation by Lazer Lederhendler)
Carol Windley - Home Schooling