Dionne Brand has been awarded the Toronto Book Award for her novel ‘Theory’, published by Knopf Canada. It’s the second time she has won the award. The announcement was made this evening at an awards ceremony held at the Toronto Reference Library. Brand also won the 2006 Toronto Book Award for her novel What We All Long For.
Commenting on the winning novel, the jury said: “In this novel of ideas, Dionne Brand dazzles with smart, jazz-like storytelling and the utterly engrossing voice of its narrator. Theory delivers a potent dose of meticulous attention to both humour and the seriousness of its subject, so that Toronto comes to each page anew. What many will recognize as love is turned into a dissertation, and by turns, the other way around. This protagonist is playful, cunning, honest and self-aware and the book surprises from cover to cover. With this wry, beautiful, profoundly philosophical novel, Brand accomplishes something reserved for the most masterful writers of our time.”
This is the 45th year of the Toronto Book Awards. Established by City Council in 1974, the awards honour books of literary merit that are evocative of Toronto. 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 consists of volunteer members Sarah Hagi, Canisia Lubrin, Vicky Mochama, Damian Tarnopolsky and Daniel Viola.
Brand’s literary credentials are legion. Theory also won the 2019 OCM BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Literature and was a Globe and Mail Best Book. Her latest poetry collection, The Blue Clerk was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize and won the Trillium Book Prize. Brand has been awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Trillium Book Award and the Pat Lowther Memorial Award.
Brand served as Toronto’s Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2012. In 2017, she was named to the Order of Canada. A professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph, she lives in Toronto.
Brand’s novel was chosen from a list of finalists that also included these books and authors:
● Be With: Letters to a Caregiver by Mike Barnes (Biblioasis)
● Reproduction by Ian Williams (Random House Canada)
● The Student by Cary Fagan (Freehand Books)
● This Country of Mine by Didier Leclair (Deux Voiliers Publishing)
More information about the author and her works is available at https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/authors/3068/dionne-brand.
More information about the awards is available at http://www.toronto.ca/book_awards and on Twitter at @TOBookAwards and #tobookawards. The Toronto Star is the Toronto Book Awards’ media sponsor.
“Congratulations to Dionne Brand for her triumphant novel, Theory, and her second Toronto Book Awards victory. I want to applaud all of the finalists for their inspiring words, which reflect and deepen our understanding of the city.”
– Mayor John Tory
“Our heartfelt congratulations to Dionne and this award for Theory, a novel which affirms yet again her vital place in contemporary Canadian literature. Dionne continues to amaze and surprise us, making us laugh at her wit along the way. Thank you, Dionne, for your art and for your brilliance – and congratulations to all the nominated writers.”
– Vickery Bowles, the City Librarian