Madeleine Thien Wins 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Madeleine Thien and her novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, is the winner of the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The announcement was made at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony hosted by Steve Patterson, attended by nearly 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities. The gala awards were broadcast by CBC and live-streamed on CBCBooks.ca.

This year the prize celebrates its 23rd anniversary.

The shortlist of six authors and their books, announced on September 26, 2016, is:

– Mona Awad for her novel 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, published by Penguin Canada

– Gary Barwin for his novel Yiddish for Pirates, published by Random House Canada

– Emma Donoghue for her novel The Wonder, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

– Catherine Leroux for her novel The Party Wall, published by Biblioasis, translated by Lazer Lederhendler

– Madeleine Thien for her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada

– Zoe Whittall for her novel The Best Kind of People, published by House of Anansi Press Inc.

The esteemed five-member jury panel made up of Lawrence Hill (jury chair), Samantha Harvey, Jeet Heer, Alan Warner and Kathleen Winter selected the shortlist and ultimate winner.

Of the winning book, the jury wrote:

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien entranced the jurors with its detailed, layered, complex drama of classical musicians and their loved ones trying to survive two monstrous insults to their humanity: Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in mid-twentieth century China and the Tiananmen Square massacre of protestors in Beijing in 1989. Do Not Say We Have Nothing addresses some of the timeless questions of literature: who do we love, and how do the love of art, of others and ourselves sustain us individually and collectively in the face of genocide? A beautiful homage to music and to the human spirit, Do Not Say We Have Nothing is both sad and uplifting in its dramatization of human loss and resilience in China and in Canada.”

The author will receive a $100,000 prize.

Photo: Madeleine Thien/Rawi Hage, 2010