Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award

Winner: $25,000
Sponsored by Writers’ Trust Board of Directors, Amazon.ca, Pitblado Family Foundation, and Michael Griesdorf Fund

2015 Winner

Annabel Lyon books


Annabel Lyon

Annabel Lyon


Annabel Lyon’s fiction has an extraordinary compressed force. Her writing is taut and precise, yet charged with emotion and meaning. It’s hard-headed and hard-edged, but also wonderfully visceral. Lyon makes a high art of the understatement. 

Lyon’s range is remarkable. Her novellas stretch the margins of the form. The three stories she delivers in one volume have the separate force of novels, each one a formal experiment that takes us into a different period with its sensibility and cultural particularity. Her historical novels are fresh, even audacious; in her hands, Aristotle and his contemporaries gain living flesh – as fathers, as rivals, as sometimes brutish and ignorant, as people with failing bodies and working kitchens. The wild violence of the period is unflinchingly documented.

These are books distinguished by wit, note-perfect dialogue, and a trenchant grasp of history. We look forward eagerly to the next.

Select Publications

Oxygen (2000)
The Best Thing for You (2004)
Saturday Night Function (2004)
All-Season Edie (2009)
The Golden Mean (2009)
Encore Edie (2010)
The Sweet Girl (2012)

About the Author

Annabel Lyon’s first novel, The Golden Mean, imagines the relationship between Alexander the Great and his teacher, Aristotle. The book was a bestseller in Canada that won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award, and has been translated into 14 languages. Her second novel, The Sweet Girl, is a sequel that follows Aristotle’s daughter Pythias. Lyon is also the author of a story collection, Oxygen; a book of novellas, The Best Thing for You; and two juvenile novels, All-Season Edie and Encore Edie. She lives in New Westminster, BC with her husband and two children.

About the Jury

ChariandyDavid Chariandy is an associate professor of English Literature at Simon Fraser University. His debut novel, Soucouyant was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award, and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Best First Novel Prize. Chariandy’s second novel, Brother, is forthcoming from McClelland & Stewart. He lives in Vancouver.

Joan ThomasJoan Thomas is the author of three novels, including The Opening Sky, which was a finalist last year for a Governor General’s Literary Award. She is a past recipient of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book, the Amazon.ca First Novel Award, and the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for her career’s work. Thomas lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Russell SmithRussell Smith is the author of seven works of fiction, including Muriella Pent, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and Confidence, a collection of stories published earlier this year. A well-known journalist and cultural commentator, Smith currently writes two weekly columns for The Globe and Mail, one on culture, the other on style. He lives in Toronto.

About the Prize

Marian EngelTimothy FindleyThe Writers' Trust Engel Findley Award is given to a mid-career writer in recognition of a remarkable body of work, and in anticipation of future contributions to Canadian literature. Writers are judged on their body of work – no less than three works of literary merit which are predominantly fiction – rather than a single book. All Canadian writers are considered and no age or gender restrictions apply. The winner is selected by a three-member, independent judging panel. (Established in 2008, the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award was created by merging two previously existing prizes: the Marian Engel Award for a female writer in mid-career, given from 1986-2007, and the Timothy Findley Award for a male writer in mid-career, awarded between 2002 – 2007.) 



Woodcock Fund




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