Ian Williams, winner of this year’s $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his debut novel Reproduction, began his acceptance speech Monday night with an emotional tribute. “Margaret Atwood over there is the first book I bought with my own money at a bookstore in Brampton,” he told the audience.
Williams credits Atwood with helping him develop an early love for storytelling and with drawing international attention to Canadian literature, he told The Canadian Press.
“How do you tell a writer that I feel like I’ve known you and you’ve been like my literary mother and you’ve been here for me this whole time? … I’m sure a lot of people feel this exact way about her, and she gives us this sense of pride as well. It’s just so much she’s done for this country,” he said.
Reproduction, which Random House Canada published in September, explores the intimate and familial bonds between a group of people living in Brampton, the Ontario suburb where Williams grew up. Williams, an associate professor of poetry at the University of British Columbia, previously published two poetry collections and Not Anyone’s Anything, a book of short stories. David Bezmozgis, Megan Gail Coles. Michael Crummey, Alix Ohlin, and Steven Price were also nominated for the prize.