Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

André Alexis Wins Scotiabank Giller Prize for His Modern Fable, Fifteen Dogs

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André Alexis

After unveiling a longlist that heavily featured small press and short story titles (two categories that have been traditionally unlucky on the book prize circuit), the Scotiabank Giller Prize announced its 2015 winner at a gala dinner in Toronto tonight: Fifteen Dogs (Coach House Books) by André Alexis. Hosted by Rick Mercer, the award ceremony was broadcast on CBC Television.

It's an exciting win, as Alexis already scooped up the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize just last week, making Fifteen Dogs the undisputed book of the year.

Alexis charmed the room of more than 500 sponsors, publishers, and writers with his off-the-cuff acceptance speech. He hadn't prepared anything, saying it might have been bad luck and apologising that his remarks would be "a jumble". He acknowledged his family, including his daughter, and highlighted the important contributions of his editor, Coach House Books' Alana Wilcox. It's a hugely influential win for the small and iconic Toronto publisher.

Alexis will receive a prize purse of $100,000. He was previously shortlisted for the Giller Prize for his debut novel, Childhood. The jury, comprised of Irish author John Boyne (Jury Chair), Canadian writers Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod and Alison Pick, and British author Helen Oyeyemi, praised Fifteen Dogs as "an insightful and philosophical meditation on the nature of consciousness". The novel deals with a group of dogs in Toronto who are gifted human consciousness by a pair of capricious gods who have a wager on whether the canines will be more or less happy than humans.

The remaining shortlisted authors are listed below. Each writer will receive $10,000 to honour their achievements.

  • Samuel Archibald for his story collection Arvida, published by Biblioasis, translated from the French by Donald Winkler
  • Rachel Cusk for her novel Outline, published by Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • Heather O’Neill for her story collection Daydreams of Angels, published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • Anakana Schofield for her novel Martin John, published by A John Metcalf Book, an imprint of Biblioasis
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