Dionne Brand has been named the winner of the 2019 Toronto Book Awards for her novel “Theory.” The award comes with a prize of $ 10,000.
The announcement was made by Councillor Paul Ainslie in a celebratory event at the Toronto Reference Library Wednesday night, attended by book fans from across the city and hosted by the CBC’s Matt Galloway.
Described as “a smart, sensual and witty novel about what happens when love and intellect are set on a collision course” “Theory” has a narrator who stumbles through their romantic life while trying to complete their dissertation. It’s a book the Star’s reviewer described as “a layered exploration of how someone so desperately trying to escape the constraints of traditional expectations and power relations is still bound by them.”
The four other writers on the short list were Ian Williams for “Reproduction” (Random House Canada); Cary Fagan for “The Student” (Freehand Books); Didier Leclair for “This Country of Mine” (Deux Voiliers Publishing) and Mike Barnes for “Be With: Letters to a Caregiver” (Biblioasis). All finalists each received $ 1,000.
The books were chosen by a jury made up of journalist and critic Sarah Hagi, poet Canisia Lubrin, writer and columnist Vicky Mochama, writer Damian Tarnopolsky and editor Daniel Viola.
Brand was also nominated in 2018 for “The Unpublished City: Volume I,” an anthology she curated featuring poetry and prose from Toronto writers who had never been published before. David Chariandy won in 2018 for his novel “Brother,” set in Scarborough.
The awards are now in their 45th year and are intended to honour books of literary merit that are evocative of Toronto. This year, the books cover immigrant life, caring for an elderly relative, the changes in Toronto over more than 50 years, and academic life.
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