Astonishing, but exciting! Of the five books shortlisted for the Giller Prize, Vincent Lam's, "Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures" was the only one I have read and to be perfectly honest I didn't think it was prize worthy, but I am perfectly willing to eat crow and do a reread. Also, I am hoping that this recognition will help boost sales of his other important book, "The Flu Pandemic and You: A Canadian Guide" that he wrote along with Colin Lee.
From the Globe and Mail:
A collection of 12 short stories about a quartet of University of Toronto medical school graduates has won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize for excellence in English-language Canadian fiction.
Torontonian Vincent Lam, himself an emergency-room physician, received the $40,000 prize and a small bronze statue at a lavish, televised gala at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel last night. His book, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures, a debut work, beat out four other finalists -- two women and two men -- for Canada's richest literary prize. Each runner-up receives $2,500.
In their citation, the three Giller judges -- former governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, famed short-story author (and two-time Giller winner) Alice Munro, and novelist Michael Winter -- said "this series of interlinked stories is a profound and meaningful glimpse into a world which seems on the surface to be purely medical, but leads us into the metaphorical. The characters and the situations are unexpectedly bound together and make us, as readers, not just witnesses to, but participants in the world that has been created for us."
Dr. Lam's victory was a surprise. But then any other winner would have been a surprise, too, in what was easily the hardest-to-predict joust in the 13-year history of the award. Previous Giller prizes -- named after Doris Giller, the late wife of the prize's founder, Montreal-born businessman Jack Rabinovitch -- have gone to either well-established writers such as Ms. Atwood and Richard L. Wright, or to authors associated with larger publishing houses, like last year's winner, David Bergen, published by McClelland & Stewart, and the first winner, in 1994, M.J. Vassanji, also affiliated with M & S.
If any book could have been considered a "pre-game favourite" it was Mr. Hage's kinetic saga of a young man's violent struggle for survival during the Lebanese civil war. It is also up for this year's $15,000 Governor-General's Award for Fiction, to be announced Nov. 21. Dr. Lam's Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures is bound to vault on to the nation's bestseller lists. A confidential study released last month by BookNet Canada, based on a survey of 650 retailers, found that a Giller Prize nod "increases sales more than any other prize in Canada -- twice as much as winning the Governor-General's Award for Fiction."
Last night's ceremony was hosted by Justin Trudeau, 34, the oldest son of Canada's 15th Prime Minister.