Monday, October 1, 2007

A third Giller in Vassanji's future?

One hurdle cleared, two more to go.

Of course, Moyez Vassanji isn't looking at it that way. He's too much the diplomat. Nevertheless, the fact remains that, at 57, the Kenyan-born, Tanzanian-raised, Toronto-based author, known as M.G. Vassanji, is tantalizingly close to making literary history. This would be as the first-ever author to win three Scotiabank Giller Prizes for excellence in English-language Canadian fiction.

Vassanji, in fact, won the very first Giller Prize back in November, 1994, with his novel The Book of Secrets. Then he did it again nine autumns later with The In-Between World of Vikram Lall, bypassing such heavily favoured nominees as Margaret Atwood and Ann-Marie MacDonald to become the sole two-time winner in the Giller's 14-year run. Now he's in the sweepstakes once more for Canada's pre-eminent literary prize courtesy of his ninth fictional foray, a novel called The Assassin's Song, published in late August by Doubleday Canada.

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