Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Michael Redhill Wins $100K Giller Prize for 'Bellevue Square'

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Michael Redhill Wins $100K Giller Prize for 'Bellevue Square'

Article excerpt

Michael Redhill wins $100K Giller Prize

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TORONTO - For more than a decade now, Toronto author Michael Redhill has been publishing mystery novels under the pseudonym Inger Ash Wolfe, but on Monday it was a piece of literary fiction bearing his actual name that won the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

The thriller "Bellevue Square" (Doubleday Canada), about a woman on the hunt for her doppelganger in a multicultural neighbourhood of Toronto, was praised by jury members for its "complex literary wonders" as it nabbed the prestigious honour.

Redhill seemed shocked as he accepted the prize and gave a tearful speech thanking his supporters as well as the late businessman Jack Rabinovitch, who founded the Giller Prize in 1994 in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller.

"I was a little more emotional than I was expecting to be -- but life doesn't prepare you for receiving a $100,000 cheque and then addressing people live across the nation, so I think I will probably have no memory of this evening in about 20 minutes, just to protect myself," he said with a laugh in an interview after the awards ceremony.

"Living as a writer, you sometimes surf on credit and goodwill, and this will make me a much better risk for the various people who may have to help me in the future," he said. "But right now, I can row my own boat."

Redhill beat out titles by Eden Robinson, Rachel Cusk, Ed O'Loughlin and Michelle Winters, who each get $10,000 for being finalists.

He started out as a literary writer, poet and novelist but branched out in the mystery genre in 2006.

"Bellevue Square" was inspired by the things he learned when he was a mystery novelist and centres on a park in Kensington Market that "is a strange kind of clearing house for humanity," he said.

"It's been 11 years since I published a book under my own name, so it's fun to come out again," said Redhill, who was born in Baltimore, but grew up in Toronto and was a Giller finalist in 2001 for "Martin Sloane."

"This is more of a literary novel that explores what is a person, what is consciousness, how do we know we are who we think we are and all those kinds of things. …

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