Author: Stephen Weir | Date: 14 March 2019
In terms of prize purses, David Chariandy's novel Brother, is now one of the the most successful Canadian fiction title ever. Last night shortly after the Caribbean Camera went to print, the former Scarborough writer won UK's Windham-Campbell Prize of $165,000 US ($220,000) for his 2017 book about two young Trinidadian brothers growing up in a tough part of Toronto.
"I was floored by the news! And for some time, I didn’t dare believe my fortune," said Chariandy last night. "The Windham-Campbell Prize offers a life-changing opportunity to devote time and energy to writing. I am humbled and profoundly grateful to be counted among the recipients."
Chariandy grew up in Toronto's diaspora; he now lives and teaches in Vancouver. His debut novel, Soucouyant, was nominated for many prizes and won the Gold Independent Publisher Award for Best Novel. Brother, his second novel, won the $50,000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the $10,000 Toronto Book Prize. It is currently in the running for the CBC Canada Reads programme. In total the book has won Chariandy over $280,000. In 2018, Chariandy released the non-fiction book I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter.
The Windham-Campbell Prize is considered a World Book Award. Last night eight writers and poets each receives a $165,000.00 USD prize to support their writing. Chariandy was the only Canadian to win last night. Two Jamaicans Ishion Hutchinson and Kwame Dawes won the prize for poetry. The other winners were Danielle McLaughlin (Ireland), Raghu Karnad (India). Rebecca Solnit, Young Jean Lee (United States) and Patricia Cornelius (Australia).
Trinidadian-Canadian Chariandy is the fourth Canadian to win a Windham-Campbell Prize since the awards were were created six years again. Three of the four winners have strong Caribbean connections - Lorna Goodison (2018, poetry), Trinidadian-Canadian André Alexis (2017, fiction), and Hannah Moscovitch (drama, 2016)