Newfoundlander Jessica Grant, author of Come, Thou Tortoise (Knopf Canada), has won the 2010 Amazon.ca First Novel Award which was co-sponsored by Quill & Quire. Grant was up against Diana Fitzgerald Bryden for No Place Strange (Key Porter Books), Annabel Lyon for The Golden Mean (Random House Canada), Damian Tarnopolsky for Goya’s Dog (Hamish Hamilton Canada), Dragan Todorovic for Diary of Interrupted Days (Random House Canada), and Ian Weir for Daniel O’Thunder (Douglas & McIntyre). The prize is worth $7,500 and honours a debut Canadian novel published in 2009.
The award was presented last night at a ceremony in Toronto. Quill & Quire editor Stuart Woods, who chose the six finalists, describes the winning book as “a heartfelt tale full to the brim with warm sentiment and the gentle absurdities of contemporary life.” The jury was comprised of poet and novelist Priscila Uppal, author and past winner Joseph Boyden, and Hal Wake, artistic director of the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival.
Grant is a member of the Newfoundland writing group The Burning Rock, along with Lisa Moore and Michael Winter. Her first book of fiction, Making Light of Tragedy, was published by The Porcupine’s Quill in 2005.