nl-grant-jessica-20100325

Novelist Jessica Grant is the most recent winner of the Winterset Award, which will soon double in size to $10,000. ((Suzanne Woolridge/ CBC))

The largest literary prize in Newfoundland and Labrador is doubling in size, thanks to a new corporate sponsor.

BMO has agreed to fund the Winterset Award, which has been honouring excellence in writing since 2000.

The prize awarded next March will be $10,000 and will known from now on as the BMO Winterset Award.

The award was founded by Toronto-based journalist Richard Gwyn in honour of his late wife, Sandra Fraser Gwyn, who spent much of her own writing career chronicling the arts in her native province.

Winterset was the name of Gwyn's home in St. John's.

The 2009 award went to St. John's writer Jessica Grant for her debut novel, Come, Thou Tortoise. Past winners include Kathleen Winter, Joan Clark, Michael Crummey and Kenneth J. Harvey.

The award is also linked to a popular literary festival held each August in Eastport. Margaret Atwood was the keynote speaker this year.