A Victoria writer has won her second Scotiabank Giller Prize, which comes with a $100,000 cash award.
Esi Edugyan's Washington Black was chosen over four other finalists.
"This remarkable novel imagines what happens when a black man escapes history's inevitable clasp—in his case, in a hot air balloon, no less," the jury citation states. "Washington Black, the hero of Esi Edugyan's novel is born in the 1800s in Barbados with a quick mind, a curious eye, and a yearning for adventure."
In an interview with Georgia Straight contributor David Chau last month, Edugyan said that her book is "really about the search for his sense of personal agency".
"Through all of this, he’s somebody who feels a grand sense of rootlessness,” she noted. “He’s always searching for his place in the world. And so it only seemed natural for the book to be moving through various settings.”
According to Chau, the novel "further demonstrates Edugyan's skill at conveying the magnitude of a life—its pivotal joys and disillusionments—and broaches th divide between physical and psychic freedom".
Edugyan also won the Giller in 2011 for Half-Blood Blues.
This year's Giller short list also included Patrick deWitt's French Exit, Eric Dupont's Songs for the Cold of Heart (translated by Peter McCambridge), Sheila Heti's Motherhood, and Thea Lim's An Ocean of Minutes.