Who We Are

Prize History

The Giller Prize was founded in 1994 by Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, who passed away from cancer the year before. The award recognized excellence in Canadian fiction – long format or short stories – and endowed a cash prize annually of $25,000.00, the largest purse for literature in the country.

The launch of The Giller Prize coincided with a growing recognition of Canadian authors and literature both at home and abroad. Acclaimed writers such as Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje and Mordecai Richler were winning honours and accolades around the world. The time seemed ripe to celebrate the success of these and other homegrown writers within these borders, with a bold statement of support and recognition.

The Giller Prize, along with many other awards that came before and after, is in large part responsible for the continued growth of Canadian literary talent. The prize has so far endowed more than three-quarters of a million dollars to Canadian writers from coast to coast.

Scotiabank and the Giller Prize

In 2005, the Giller Prize teamed up with Scotiabank to create the Scotiabank Giller Prize. It is the first-ever co-sponsorship for Canada’s richest literary award for fiction. The purse increased from $25,000 to $50,000 and grew again in 2008 to $70,000. In 2014, founder Jack Rabinovitch announced that the prize purse would double, with $100,000 going to the winner and $10,000 to each finalist.

“This new relationship ensures that the prize will endure far into the future,” said Jack Rabinovitch. “Scotiabank’s enthusiasm for the Giller Prize and more importantly, for the promotion of great Canadian literature, convinced us they’d be the ideal partner,” he added.

“The Scotiabank Giller Prize really speaks to who we are as a bank,” said Brian Porter, Scotiabank’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We support the arts because we believe that they enrich our communities and our lives in meaningful ways. That’s certainly true of great literature – and the Giller Prize celebrates the finest in Canadian fiction.”

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader for charitable donations and philanthropic activities, Scotiabank has contributed on average some $50 million annually over the last five years to community causes around the world. You can visit Scotiabank online at www.scotiabank.com.

Soheil Mosun Limited was commissioned to manufacture the redesigned Scotiabank Giller Prize Awards, Canada’s annual premier literary prize for fiction.