David Chariandy Wins 2018 Toronto Book Award with “Brother”

David Chariandy is the winner of the 2018 Toronto Book Award for his novel Brother, published by McClelland & Stewart. The announcement was made October 10 at the Toronto Reference Library.

“Congratulations to Mr. Chariandy and to all of the finalists for inspiring us with their creative visions of our city,” said the Mayor of Toronto.

“David Chariandy’s book is one that continues to garner attention and awards – and no wonder,” said Vickery Bowles, the City Librarian. “It’s such a rich and moving portrait of a young family trying to survive in a changing city – and all of Toronto has been talking about it! We are incredibly proud of David for this beautiful novel and for this award.”

Chariandy’s novel was chosen from a list of finalists that also included:
• Dionne Brand-curated “The Unpublished City” published by BookThug
• Carrianne Leung’s “That Time I Loved You” published by Harper Collins
• Lee Maracle’s “My Conversations with Canadians” published by BookThug
• Kerri Sakamoto’s “Floating City” published by Knopf Canada

Chariandy grew up in Toronto and now lives and teaches in Vancouver. His debut novel, Soucouyant, received reviews and recognition from 11 literary award juries, including a Governor General’s Literary Award shortlisting, a Gold Independent Publisher Award for Best Novel, and a Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist. Brother, his second novel, published in 2017, has also won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was named to the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist.

This is the 44th year of the Toronto Book Awards. The annual awards offer $15,000 in prize money. Each shortlisted finalist will receive $1,000, with $10,000 going to the winner. This year’s Toronto Book Awards Committee is comprised of author Nathan Adler, author/editor Susan G. Cole, author Kevin Hardcastle, poet Soraya Peerbaye and author/bookseller Itah Sadu.

The City of Toronto would like to thank all the publishers that submitted works for consideration. Additional congratulations to the other long-listed authors and publishers:

The Unpublished City brings together a collection of diverse voices, a true cross-section of Toronto’s burgeoning literary community. These poems and short prose pieces reveal a series of lush vignettes through distinct voices that surprise and delight. The stories conjure Toronto’s city streets, its preoccupations and psychological pulse. From race relations to racial profiling, there are choices, paths, cute friendships, tragedies, cruelties, griefs, loves, losses and sadness. Here are fantasies of power through magic, the complications of sex, death in domesticity, the clash of home, homelands, journeys away, the rural, the urban, generational divides, ghosts and revelations, quirky visceral moments, an itch that will leave goosebumps. By turns gory and disturbing, morbidly funny, or charming and sweet, The Unpublished City highlights a talented crop of writers to watch out for.

In a near flawless piece of writing, David Chariandy brings readers to a story that may very well feel both foreign and familiar. Brother, his second novel, is a lean masterwork driven by spare, painstakingly-crafted prose. No word is wasted in this book, and every word leaves a mark. In this world-building, or perhaps world-revealing novel, Chariandy casts off tropes that readers may expect from a story about family, violence, loss, and survival, and lets the heart of the novel, and its fully-drawn characters, dictate the course of the narrative. This book has already become part of the Toronto literary canon, and should reside there for ages.

In That Time I Loved You, Carrianne Leung introduces us to a multitude of intertwined, felt and feeling lives in a Scarborough suburb. Her short stories are crafted like houses, separated by chain link fence. We dedicate ourselves to knowing each character, their hidden, fully inhabited interior; only to glimpse them again later in vivid, green glimpses, painfully undone. Probing love, loneliness, social injustice and the wish to be revealed, her characters stammer and blurt, say the wholly unexpected, their lives tender and brave on the tips of their tongues.

In My Conversations with Canadians, groundbreaking Sto:Lo storyteller Lee Maracle brings her decades of experience in writing and performing to bear on this essential series of essays. Maracle speaks plainly and powerfully throughout, and her words demand our attention and consideration. At a crucial time when the realities of Canadian life and the trappings of Canadian Literature are being rightly re-examined, Maracle explores our most pressing cultural and societal problems – those that are starkly visible, and those that may seem subterranean to some readers. The concerns of this book are concerns that will resonate with Torontonians, and those who live in different communities all over this continent, and they are laid out with precision and passion in every line.

In this soulful yet whimsical meditation on ambition and familial fealty, Frankie moves from his floating home in Port Alberni B.C., to forced internment among others with Japanese roots during World War II and then to Toronto, where he connects to a couple that teaches him gardening. All along the way, Frankie finds ways to make money – not always in seemly ways – until his aspirations as a developer along Toronto’s waterfront stretch his moral fibre. With elements of magic realism, a strong intellectual component – Buckminster Fuller and his visionary ideas figure prominently – and a powerful emotional core, Floating City evokes Toronto’s ’50s history while remaining wholly relevant to the issues our city faces today.