Rawi Hage’s gritty tales of life in a Montreal demi-monde continue to win accolades in his home city, with his latest novel Carnival taking the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction from the Quebec Writers’ Federation.

The $2,000 prize, awarded at a gala Tuesday evening in Montreal, is the same award he won for his first novel De Niro’s Game and second novel, Cockroach.

Carnival offers a portrait of an unnamed city as seen through the eyes of a unique narrator — a cabbie named Fly, whose parents were circus performers.

The jury called Hage a "sentence technician who stands with the best stylists and the best storytellers of our day."

Taras Grescoe wins in non-fiction

Taras Grescoe won the $2,000 Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction for Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile.

Grescoe’s book, a nuanced argument in favour of high-quality public transit, was nominated for the Hilary Weston Prize and is a finalist for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

This is the third time that Grescoe has won the QWF's non-fiction prize. He won in 2000 for Sacré Blues — An Unsentimental Journey Through Quebec, and in 2008 for Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood. 

The jury praised Grescoe for his "musical turns of phrase and unexpected images, and his powerful but unobtrusive sense of metaphor which make the book so much more than just a travelogue."

Other winners named Tuesday at the QWF gala:

  • Concordia University First Book Prize ($2000): Alice Petersen, All the Voices Cry (Biblioasis).
  • A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry ($2000): Oana Avasilichioaei, We, Beasts (Wolsak and Wynn Publishers).
  • Cole Foundation Prize for Translation ($2000): Éric Fontaine, T’es con, point (Stanké), a translation of Doug Harris’ YOU Comma Idiot (Goose Lane Editions).
  • QWF Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Catherine Austen, 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6 (James Lorimer & Company Ltd.).  


  • An earlier version of this story said the title of Rawi Hage's second novel was Cocksure. In fact, the title of his second novel is Cockroach.
    Nov 20, 2012 9:54 PM ET