Scotiabank Giller Prize Spotlight: Rawi Hage

September 20, 2022

Rawi Hage

Rawi Hage’s short story collection Stray Dogs has been longlisted for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Rawi Hage was born in Beirut, Lebanon, and lived through nine years of the Lebanese civil war during the 1970s and 1980s. He immigrated to Canada in 1992 and now lives in Montreal. His first novel, De Niro’s Game, won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for the best English-language book published anywhere in the world in a given year, and has either won or been shortlisted for seven other major awards and prizes, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Literary Award. Cockroach was the winner of the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. It was also shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award and the Giller Prize. His third novel, Carnival, told from the perspective of a taxi driver, was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Award and won the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. His work has been translated into 30 languages.

What/who inspires you to write?

Reading and the love of reading inspired me to write.

Do you have a favourite passage/quote from a book?

The last passage from James Joyce’s short story, THE DEAD.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Home alone. Or a place that has no fridge.

Is there an activity you do to help inspire your writing?

I am grateful to the shepherd and his goat who discovered the coffee plant somewhere between the Ethiopian coast and the Yemeni shore. The location is debatable but the story is inspiring.

Do you have a tradition for every time you finish a book?

Yes. I wail and lament the future fate of the next book.

What are you reading now?

I am reading a coffee cup and the future is bleak.

What would your job be if you weren’t an author?

A construction worker.

What is your favourite book from childhood?

Le Petit Prince.

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

A baffling mystery to me.

What inspired you to write your Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated book?

Photography, iconoclasm and the visual were always an inspiration in my work.

What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Nothing! I urge the reader to keep every page intact.

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