Dionne Brand's novel Theory among titles shortlisted for $10K Toronto Book Award

The $10,000 prize annually recognizes the book that best evokes the city of Toronto.
Dionne Brand is a poet and novelist. Her most recent novel is Theory. (Jason Chow, Knopf Canada)

Dionne Brand's novel Theory is among five books shortlisted for the 2019 Toronto Book Award. 

The $10,000 prize annually recognizes the book that best evokes the city of Toronto.

Theory follows an unnamed narrator through three love affairs, each with a profound influence on the narrator's ongoing thesis on the future of art, culture, race, gender, class and politics.

Brand is a Governor General's Literary Award and Griffin Poetry Prize-winning poet from Toronto. Her most recent poetry collection, The Blue Clerkwon the 2019 Trillium Book Award. She previously won the Toronto Book Award in 2006 for her novel What We All Long For.

Poet Ian Williams is shortlisted for his debut novel, ReproductionA love story revolving around race, class and identity and set in the Greater Toronto Area, the novel follows the connected lives of Felicia, a teen from an island nation, and Edgar, the lazy heir of a wealthy German family.

Reproduction was also a finalist for the 2019 Amazon Canada First Novel Award.

One nonfiction book made the shortlist: Be With: Letters to a Caregiver by Mike Barnes. 

When Barnes became his mother's caregiver after she began showing signs of dementia, he started writing daily reflections about the stress he experienced. These reflections eventually formed the basis of Be With: Letters to a Caregiver.

Rounding out the shortlist are two novels, This Country of Mine by Didier Leclair and translated by Elaine Kennedy and The Student by Cary Fagan.

This Country of Mine is the story of a man who was a doctor in his home country but works at a call centre in Toronto. At night, he secretly treats marginalized patients. 

In The Student, as her son's wedding approaches, a woman looks back on her life through the lens of a book she studied when she was in college. 

The Toronto Book Award winner will be announced on Oct. 2, 2019.

The 2018 winner was David Chariandy for his novel Brother.

Other past winners include B. Denham Jolly for his memoir In the Black, Kamal Al-Solaylee for his memoir Intolerable, Charlotte Gray for her nonfiction book The Massey Murder and Anne Michaels for her novel Fugitive Pieces.


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