Esi Edugyan, 33, has won the Giller Prize, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards. Her book, Half-Blood Blues, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year, tells the story of a group of jazz musicians trying to survive in Europe during World War II.
Addressing the audience at the award ceremony in Toronto, she said, ‘I didn’t expect this, and I’ve only scrawled a few things on a piece of paper’. The Scottish playwright and novelist Andrew O’Hagan said of Edugyan’s writing – for being – ‘deceptively conversational and easy’.
Accepting the $50,000 (£30,000) prize, Edugyan paid tribute to her father – a Ghanaian immigrant who moved his family to Canada in the 1970’s. Edugyan was born in Calgary and is now based in Victoria, British Columbia. She holds degrees from the University of Victoria and Johns Hopkins University.
This article is my contribution to Kinna’s Ghanaian Literature Week.