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Madeleine Thien Wins the 2016 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Bookwitty By Bookwitty Published on November 8, 2016
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Madeleine Thien has been named the winner of the 23rd Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada. 

Do Not Say We Have Nothing follows an extended family in China, showing us the lives of two successive generations―those who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who became the students protesting in Tiananmen Square. At the center of this epic story are two young women, Marie and Ai-Ming. Through their relationship Marie strives to piece together the tale of her fractured family in present-day Vancouver, seeking answers in the fragile layers of their collective story. 

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is an annual prize that strives to highlight the very best in Canadian fiction. The prize awards $100,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English, and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The award is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller and was founded in 1994 by her husband, Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch.

The shortlist of six authors and their books, announced on September 26, 2016, is:

Of the winning book, the jury wrote

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien entranced the jurors with its detailed, layered, complex drama of classical musicians and their loved ones trying to survive two monstrous insults to their humanity: Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution in mid-twentieth century China and the Tiananmen Square massacre of protestors in Beijing in 1989. Do Not Say We Have Nothing addresses some of the timeless questions of literature: who do we love, and how do the love of art, of others and ourselves sustain us individually and collectively in the face of genocide? A beautiful homage to music and to the human spirit, Do Not Say We Have Nothing is both sad and uplifting in its dramatization of human loss and resilience in China and in Canada.

Buy Do Not Say We Have Nothing here.

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