Anakana Schofield, the Vancouver-based author of the novel Malarky, has won the $7,500 Amazon First Novel Award.

She was named winner Wednesday evening at a ceremony in Toronto. Her novel was chosen from a shortlist of five debut works of Canadian fiction.

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Anakana Schofield is an Irish-Canadian writer now living in Vancouver and winner of the Amazon First Novel Award. (Amazon First Novel Award)

Malarky, published by Biblioasis, is the comic and painful story of an Irish mother struggling with the grief of discovering she has a gay son and the agony of her own sexual longing.

Quill & Quire called the storytelling "a tumultuous ride" through contemporary Ireland and praised Schofield for her "plainly beautiful prose."

Each of the other finalists wins a $750 Amazon gift card. They are:

  • Marjorie Celona for Y (Hamish Hamilton Canada).
  • Scott Fotheringham for The Rest Is Silence (Goose Lane Editions).  
  • Pasha Malla for People Park (House of Anansi Press).  
  • Kim Thúy for Ru (Random House Canada).

The 2012 winner of the First Novel Award, now in its 37th year, was  David Bezmozgis, author of The Free World.