TORONTO, Nov. 13, 2023 /CNW/ – Sarah Bernstein has been named the winner of the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel, Study for Obedience published by Knopf Canada, taking home $100,000 courtesy of Scotiabank.
The announcement was made at an award ceremony hosted by Canadian TV icon and author Rick Mercer, attended by over 300 guests. The gala was broadcast live commercial-free presented by Scotia Wealth Management on CBC, CBC Radio, and streamed live on CBC Gem and CBCBooks.ca.
This year, the Prize celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The remaining finalists, listed below, will each receive $10,000:
- Eleanor Catton for her novel Birnam Wood, published by McClelland & Stewart
- Kevin Chong for his novel The Double Life of Benson Yu, published by Simon & Schuster
- Dionne Irving for her short story collection The Islands: Stories, published by Catapult
- CS Richardson for his novel All The Colour in the World, published by Knopf Canada
The longlist, shortlist, and winner of the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize were selected by an esteemed five-member jury panel: Canadian authors Ian Williams (jury chair, winner of 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize), Sharon Bala and Brian Thomas Isaac, and American author Rebecca Makkai and Indian-British writer, Neel Mukherjee. On September 6, the jury narrowed down the 145 submitted works to 12 to create the longlist. The shortlist of five was selected on October 11. And just this very morning, the jury met to choose tonight’s winner.
Of the winning book, the jury wrote:
“The modernist experiment continues to burn incandescently in Sarah Bernstein’s slim novel, Study for Obedience. Bernstein asks the indelible question: what does a culture of subjugation, erasure, and dismissal of women produce? In this book, equal parts poisoned and sympathetic, Bernstein’s unnamed protagonist goes about exacting, in shockingly twisted ways, the price of all that the world has withheld from her. The prose refracts Javier Marias sometimes, at other times Samuel Beckett. It’s an unexpected and fanged book, and its own studied withholdings create a powerful mesmeric effect.”
Sarah Bernstein is from Montreal, Canada, and lives in Scotland. Her writing has appeared in Granta among other publications. Her first novel, The Coming Bad Days, was published in 2021. In 2023, she was named one of Granta‘s Best of Young British Novelists.
Relive the gala, streaming now on CBC Gem and CBCBooks.ca.
Images from tonight’s gala will be available on the media resources page.
“Sincere congratulations to Sarah Bernstein on her win tonight. Study for Obedience is a ground-breaking, contemplative novel about victimhood and survival, a story told with unnerving precision by an author at the top of her game.”
Elana Rabinovitch, Executive Director, Scotiabank Giller Prize
“Congratulations to Sarah Bernstein for winning the 2023 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Study for Obedience – a literary work I believe will inspire and invigorate readers and future storytellers for years to come. At Scotiabank, we are proud of our longstanding partnership with the Giller Foundation. This is an especially significant year as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Prize which continues to captivate readers in Canada and around the world with novels and short story collections that are provocative, heart-warming, challenging, and intimate in their own way. I’m proud that the Prize continues to bring art to more Canadians, making it more accessible for lifetime-long readers, and new readers alike.”
Laura Curtis Ferrera, Chief Marketing Officer, Scotiabank
The winner will be interviewed at The Toronto Reference Library by Scotiabank Giller Prize jury chair and 2019 winner Ian Williams, at 7 p.m. ET on November 15.
The winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize will also be honoured with an in-person interview as part of the 2024 San Miguel Writer’s Conference & Literary Festival, on February 22, 2024. Other notable interviews have included both Tom Hanks and Matthew McConaughey, along with Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende, Isabel Wilkerson, Emma Donoghue, and many more.
About the Prize
Founded by Jack Rabinovitch in 1994, the Giller Prize is Canada’s leading and most influential literary prize for fiction. The Giller Effect has been recognized industry-wide as one of the top drivers of book sales in Canada. Scotiabank has been title sponsor since 2005. The Scotiabank Giller Prize now awards $100,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel, graphic novel or short story collection published in English, and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The award is named in honour of Jack Rabinovitch’s wife, the late literary journalist, Doris Giller.
Scotiabank is a leading bank in the Americas. Guided by our purpose: “for every future”, we help our customers, their families and their communities achieve success through a broad range of advice, products and services, including personal and commercial banking, wealth management and private banking, corporate and investment banking, and capital markets. With a team of over 90,000 employees and assets of approximately $1.4 trillion (as at July 31, 2023), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: BNS) and New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: BNS). For more information, please visit http://www.scotiabank.com and follow us on X @Scotiabank.
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