Author Joseph Boyden Wins the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize

— Canada’s Premier Prize for Fiction, Now Celebrating Its 15th Year, Names a Winner —

Toronto, ON (November 11, 2008) – Joseph Boyden was named the winner of the 15th annual Scotiabank Giller Prize tonight for his novel Through Black Spruce, published by Viking Canada. The announcement was made at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony broadcast that drew more than 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities.

Hosted by Canada AM’s Seamus O’Regan, THE SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE gala aired live tonight at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo! Encore broadcasts of the event will air on CTV tomorrow, Wednesday, November 12 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET (check local listings). The gala was also streamed to readers around the world on, via the website, and is currently available on demand on the CTV Video Player at

The largest annual prize for fiction in the country, the Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $50,000 each year to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $5,000 to each of the finalists. A shortlist of five authors and their books was announced on October 7, 2008. Those finalists were:

· Joseph Boyden for his novel Through Black Spruce, published by Viking Canada

· Anthony De Sa for his short story collection Barnacle Love, published by Doubleday Canada

· Marina Endicott for her novel Good to a Fault, published by Freehand Books/Broadview Press

· Rawi Hage for his novel Cockroach, published by House of Anansi Press

· Mary Swan for her novel The Boys in the Trees, published by Henry Holt/H.B. Fenn

Selected by an esteemed jury panel comprised of award winning author and previous Giller Prize winner Margaret Atwood; Liberal MP, Foreign Affairs critic and author Bob Rae; and renowned international journalist, professor and author Colm Toíbín, the five finalists were chosen from 95 books submitted for consideration by 38 publishing houses from every region of the country.

Of the winning book, the jury remarked:

Suzanne Bird, a beautiful aboriginal model from the James Bay coast, goes missing in New York. In a gripping story filled with humour, suspense, and remarkable insights into both nature and human nature, Joseph Boyden takes us on two journeys. Suzanne’s sister Annie retraces her sister’s steps, from the Native poverty below the Gardiner Expressway to the extravagant fast lanes of New York. Will, their uncle, follows a very different path as he deals with the demons of memory, revenge, and darkest loss. In spare prose that ranges from lyrical to brutal, the two journeys are brought together brilliantly. Joseph Boyden shows us unforgettable characters and a northern landscape in a way we have never seen them before.

Joseph Boyden is a Canadian with Irish, Scottish and Métis roots. His first novel, Three Day Road, has been published in 10 languages. The book was selected for The Today Show Book Club, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the CBA Libris Awards Fiction Book of the Year, the in Canada First Novel Award, the 2005 McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Boyden is the author of Born with a Tooth, a collection of stories that was shortlisted for the Upper Canada Writer’s Craft Award. Boyden divides his time between Northern Ontario and Louisiana, where he teaches writing at the University of New Orleans.

During tonight’s award ceremony, a roster of celebrity presenters – Rex Harrington, Alan Hawco, Dr. Vincent Lam, Alice Munro, and Dr. Samantha Nutt – introduced video profiles of the shortlisted authors, and presented each of them with a leather bound copy of their book.

Guess the Giller

Now in its sixth year, the Guess the Giller contest ran in over 30 public library systems. One hundred and seventy five bookstores including Chapters Indigo, post-secondary schools, literary festivals and over 1000 Scotiabank branches have promoted the contest to Canadian readers and the Indigo online book community has set up discussion forums for readers to debate and deliberate on the shortlist. The annual contest gives participants the chance to win a trip for two to any Canadian literary festival of their choice and a signed Scotiabank Giller Prize book set, a package valued at $5,000. For more information, please visit

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