November 10, 2014 (Toronto, ON) – Sean Michaels has been named the winner of the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Us Conductors, published by Random House Canada. The announcement was made at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony hosted by Rick Mercer, attended by nearly 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities. CBC Television is the broadcaster for the gala.
This year the prize celebrates its twenty-first anniversary.
A shortlist of six authors and their books was announced on October 6, 2014. Those finalists are:
- David Bezmozgis for his novel The Betrayers published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
- Frances Itani for her book Tell published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
- Sean Michaels for his novel, Us Conductors published by Random House Canada
- Heather O’Neill for her novel The Girl Who Was Saturday Night published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
- Miriam Toews for her novel All My Puny Sorrows published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
- Padma Viswanathan for her book The Ever After of Ashwin Rao published by Random House Canada
Photo credit: Tom Sandler.
Jack Rabinovitch, 2014 Giller Prize winner Sean Michaels, Brian Porter.
The shortlist and ultimate winner were selected by the esteemed three-member jury empanelled for the 2014 prize: Canadian author Shauna Singh Baldwin, British novelist Justin Cartwright, and American writer Francine Prose.
Of the winning book, the jury wrote:
“Michaels’ book is based on the life of Lev Thermen, the Russian-born inventor of the Theremin, the most ethereal of musical instruments. As the narrative shifts countries and climates, from the glittery brightness of New York in the 1920s to the leaden cold of the Soviet Union under Stalin, the grace of Michaels’s style makes these times and places seem entirely new. He succeeds at one of the hardest things a writer can do: he makes music seem to sing from the pages of a novel.”
SEAN MICHAELS was born in Stirling, Scotland, in 1982. Raised in Ottawa, he eventually settled in Montreal, founding Said the Gramophone, one of the earliest music blogs. He has since spent time in Edinburgh and Krakow, written for the Guardian and McSweeney’s, toured with rock bands, searched the Parisian catacombs for Les UX, and received two National Magazine Awards.
During tonight’s award ceremony, a roster of celebrity presenters – Yannick Bisson, Kim Coates, Naomi Klein, Deepa Mehta, Jessica Paré and David Usher – introduced the shortlisted authors and presented video profiles highlighting their nominated books.
Listen to CBC Radio One’s Q tomorrow at 10 a.m. / 10:30 NT for an interview with Sean Michaels and relive the gala on www.cbc.ca/books.
Ask the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner your questions on Twitter about his win on November 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET during a live twitter chat hosted by @GillerPrize using the hashtag #GillerWinner.
About the Prize
The Scotiabank Giller Prize strives to highlight the very best in Canadian fiction year after year. Beginning in 2014, the prize will award $100,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English, and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The award is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband, Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch. Visit us at www.scotiabankgillerprize.ca.
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