Toronto's David W. McFadden has been named the Canadian winner of this year's Griffin Poetry Prize for his collection What's the Score?

Like a Straw Bird It Follows Me, and Other Poems written by Ramallah-based Palestinian poet Ghassan Zaqtan and translated from Arabic by Fady Joudah of Houston, won the international honour.

Both awards are worth $65,000.

The Griffin was handed out Thursday night at a Toronto gala attended by literary luminaries including Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Susan Swan and Michael Winter.

This is the 13th year for the lucrative accolade, which recognizes one Canadian and one international poet.

Judges Suzanne Buffam of Vancouver, Mark Doty of the U.S., and China's Wang Ping each read 509 books of poetry, from 40 countries, including 15 translations.

Toronto businessman Scott Griffin created the honour along with trustees including Atwood and Ondaatje.

The prize money includes $10,000 each finalist received for participating in Wednesday evening's readings.

Guests at the Thursday gala feasted on shrimp tacos, truffled wild mushrooms, beef tenderloin and mini chocolate bars. The night was a celebration of poetry, which former Griffin winner A.F. Moritz called "a guardian of the health of language and the creativity of language."

He lamented its marginalization, adding: "If there were more of a balance of poetry and all that it represents, or (it was) more central in our culture, our culture would be doing a lot better."

Last year's winners were Toronto's Ken Babstock and Britain's David Harsent.