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Trinidadian Born Novelist André Alexis Wins Scotiabank Giller Prize 2015

Trinidadian-born Andre Alexis wins 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Trinidadian-born novelist André Alexis’ Fifteen Dogs has scooped up Canada’s biggest literary award, The Scotiabank Giller Prize. His victory comes a mere two weeks after winning the 2015 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Alexis therefore now has two of Canada’s three major fiction prizes on his mantle.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize comes with a purse of Canadian CD$100,000. It was awarded Tuesday, November 10, 2015. This year marked Alexis’ second time as a finalist for the prize. His debut novel Childhood (a Trillium Book Award winner) made the list in 1998, but that prize eventually went to Alice Munroe’s The Love of a Good Woman.

Alexis’ previous books include Asylum, Beauty and Sadness, and the children’s novel Ingrid & the Wolf

“In Fifteen Dogs – André Alexis’ powerful apologue – questions of knowledge and happiness, fidelity and fate are grounded in the real-world adventures of a group of dogs,” says the Jury Citation on the prize’s website.  “Here is a beautifully written allegory for our times: one in which man’s best friend shows us the benefits of higher consciousness – the favoured bone of fact buried where we might all find it. Fifteen Dogs is an original and vital work written by a master craftsman: philosophy given a perfect form.”

In a report on theglobeandmail.com, the 58-year-old writer is cited as saying the win was unexpected. 

“I didn’t think that I was going to win it,” Alexis said. “My own feeling is that if you get too absorbed in thinking about winning and losing, then you get disappointed if you lose and you get too weird if you win. I like to keep myself on an even keel.”

The shortlisted finalists for the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize included Samuel Archibald’s Avida (translated by Donald Winkler), Rachel Cusk’s Outline, Heather O’Neill’s Daydreams of Angels and Anakana Schofield’s Martin John.

To claim the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, Alexis had to beat out fellow Caribbean writer Pamela Mordecai’s Red Jacket. Other shortlisted books for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Prize 2015 were His Whole Life (Elizabeth Hay), Confidence (Russell Smith), and The Jaguar’s Children (John Valiant). 

The 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize took place at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. The prize was founded in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller.