Johanna Skibsrud Wins The 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize

November 9, 2010

Johanna Skibsrud has been named the 2010 winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel The Sentimentalists, published by Gaspereau Press. The announcement was made live on Bravo!, BookTelevision and at a black-tie dinner and award ceremony that drew nearly 500 members of the publishing, media and arts communities. Hosted by CTV’s Seamus O’Regan, the Scotiabank Giller Prize gala premieres on CTV tomorrow at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET and is now available on demand on (on-demand broadcast and complete broadcast listings are available at

The largest annual literary prize in the country, the Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $50,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $5,000 to each of the finalists. A shortlist of five authors and their books was announced on October 5, 2010. Those finalists were:

  • David Bergen for his novel The Matter with Morris, published by Phyllis Bruce Books/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
  • Alexander MacLeod for his short story collection Light Lifting, published by Biblioasis
  • Sarah Selecky for her short story collection This Cake is for the Party, published by Thomas Allen Publishers
  • Johanna Skibsrud for her novel The Sentimentalists, published by Gaspereau Press
  • Kathleen Winter for her novel Annabel, published by House of Anansi Press

The shortlist and ultimate winner were selected by an esteemed jury panel made up Canadian broadcaster and journalist Michael Enright, American writer and professor Claire Messud and award-winning UK author Ali Smith. The shortlist was chosen from 98 books submitted for consideration by 38 publishing houses from every region of the country.

Of the winning book, the jury remarked:

“The Sentimentalists charts the painful search by a dutiful daughter to learn – and more importantly, to learn to understand – the multi-layered truth which lies at the moral core of her dying father’s life. Something happened to Napoleon Haskell during his tour of duty in Vietnam that changed his life and haunted the rest of his days. At the behest of his daughters, he moves from a trailer in North Dakota to a small lakeside town in Ontario where his family can only watch as his past slips away in a descending fog of senility. The writing here is trip-wire taut as the exploration of guilt, family and duty unfolds.”

Johanna Skibsrud’s first poetry collection, Late Nights With Wild Cowboys, was published in 2008 by Gaspereau Press and was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Award. Originally from Scotsburn, Nova Scotia, Skibsrud now lives in Montreal.

During tonight’s award ceremony, a roster of celebrity presenters – 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Linden MacIntyre, multi-award winning singer-songwriter Anne Murray, Macleans columnist and award-winning author Barbara Amiel Black, CTV News anchor Lisa LaFlamme and Blue Rodeo frontman and solo musician Jim Cuddy – introduced video profiles of the shortlisted authors and presented each of them with a leather-bound copy of their books.

About the Scotiabank Giller Prize

Two thousand and ten marks the sixth year of the partnership between the Giller Prize and Scotiabank. On September 22, 2005, Jack Rabinovitch and Rick Waugh, President and CEO of Scotiabank announced that the bank would become the first ever co-sponsor of Canada’s richest literary award for fiction. Under the new agreement, the prize became known as the Scotiabank Giller Prize. In 2008, the purse increased to $70,000 with $50,000 going to the winner and $5,000 to each of the finalists. In 2006, CTV became the exclusive broadcast partner for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Guess the Giller

The ninth annual Scotiabank “Guess the Giller” contest ran from September 24 through November 9, giving participants the chance to win a VIP trip for two to Toronto to attend the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala. This Grand Prize package includes airfare to and from Toronto, invitations to the Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala to see the 2011 Prize Winner, accommodations at the Four Seasons Hotel, $1,000 in spending money, an autographed set of the 2010 shortlisted books, a Kobo™ Wireless eReader, and a $50 Chapters Indigo gift card. “Guess The Giller” was launched in 2003 together with the Toronto Public Library. This year, nearly 30 public library systems, 150 bookstores, 33 post-secondary schools and 1,010 Scotiabank branches from across Canada are promoting the contest to Canadian readers.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is committed to supporting the communities in which we live and work, both in Canada and abroad. Recognized as a leader internationally and among Canadian corporations for its charitable donations and philanthropic activities, in 2009 the bank provided about $39 million in sponsorships and donations to a variety of projects and initiatives, primarily in the areas of healthcare, education, social services and arts and culture. Visit us at

About CTV

CTV, Canada’s Olympic Network, is also Canada's largest private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV is Canada’s most-watched television network. CTV Inc. also owns radio stations across the country and owns or has interests in leading national specialty channels, featuring news, sports, factual, arts, entertainment, music, youth and fashion programming. Official broadcaster of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and London 2012 Games of the Olympiad, CTV Inc. is owned by CTVglobemedia Inc., Canada’s premier multi-media company, which also owns Canada’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. More information about CTV may be found on the network’s website at

The Scotiabank Giller Prize awards $50,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English and $5,000 to each of the finalists. The Scotiabank Giller Prize is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch.

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