Books

Dionne Brand wins $10K Toronto Book Award for novel Theory

The 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 has won the 2019 Toronto Book Award for her novel Theory.

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

Dionne ​Brand is an award-winning poet and novelist who lives in 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.

"It was my interest in a woman who was an intellectual and who was critiquing all forms of life, including herself. She's reflective, but also untrusting of any human activity — in a way — and her thoughts around it," she said to Matt Galloway on CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

"I want to thank the city for providing me with material that I can write through."

The Toronto Book Award is the third award Brand has won this year.

Her most recent poetry collection, The Blue Clerkwon the 2019 Trillium Book Award.

She was also the recipient of the 2019 Blue Metropolis Violet Literary Prize, which annually recognizes an LGBTQ Canadian writer for their body of work.

She was also a finalist for the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize for The Blue Clerk.

She previously won the Toronto Book Award in 2006 for her novel What We All Long For.

Dionne Brand is the second-ever recipient of the Blue Metropolis Violet Literary Prize. Her latest books include the novel Theory and the poetry collection The Blue Clerk, which was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. 54:00

The other finalists were Ian Williams for the novel Reproduction, which is currently shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Mike Barnes for the nonfiction work Be With: Letters to a CaregiverCary Fagan for the novel The Student, which is a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction and the novel This Country of Mine by Didier Leclair, which was translated from French by Elaine Kennedy. 

Other past winners include David Chariandy for his novel Brother, 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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