Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize
Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500
For 20 years the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize has recognized the best Canadian novel or short story collection.
Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains
"Straining under the colonial rule of the French at the turn of the twentieth century, Vietnam is rife with corruption, oppression, opium dens, and revolutionary cells, and an active guillotine dominates a Saigon square. With compelling narrative drive, Yasuko Thanh imbues Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains with atmosphere and resonance, and creates mesmerizing characters who undergo complex change — politically, socially, personally, sexually — as they are gathered into a vortex of intrigue and risk. The author is as fearless and as wise in reshaping the mystique of the revolutionary as she is in delineating a dramatic time and place in this elegant and tantalizing novel."
- 2016 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury Lauren B. Davis, Trevor Ferguson, and Pasha Malla
About the Book
Vietnam is a haunted country, and Dr. Nguyen Georges-Minh is a haunted man. In 1908, the French rule Saigon, but uneasily; dissent whispers through the corridors of the city. Each day, more Vietnamese rebels are paraded through the streets towards the gleaming blade of the guillotine, now a permanent fixture in the main square and a gruesome warning to those who would attempt to challenge colonial rule. It is a warning that Georges-Minh will not heed. A Vietnamese national and Paris-educated physician, he is obsessed by guilt over his material wealth and nurses a secret loathing for the French connections that have made him rich, even as they have torn his beloved country apart.
About the Author
Yasuko Thanh won the Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize in 2009 for her story “Floating Like the Dead.” In 2012, her debut collection of the same name was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Thanh’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Prairie Fire, Descant, PRISM international, and Vancouver Review. She lives in Victoria.
Michael Helm (Dundas, ON)
for After James
McClelland & Stewart
Anosh Irani (Vancouver, BC)
for The Parcel
Kerry Lee Powell (Moncton, NB)
for Willem de Kooning's Paintbrush
Katherena Vermette (Winnipeg, MB)
for The Break
House of Anansi
Get your copy of each shortlisted book at Indigo.ca's Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize shop.
Listen to a podcast of the 2016 prize jurors discussing their adjudication process.
Lauren B. Davis is a critically acclaimed author and creative writing teacher. Her work includes the novels Against a Darkening Sky; The Empty Room; Our Daily Bread, which was longlisted for the Giller Prize; and The Radiant City, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. She is also the author of two collections of short stories. Born in Montreal, she now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
Trevor Ferguson is the author of seven novels, including The River Burns, under his own name and a further five, including The Storm Murders and Seven Days Dead, under his pseudonym, John Farrow. His novel The Timekeeper won the Quebec Writers' Federation's Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction and was adapted into a feature film. He lives in Hudson, Quebec.
Pasha Malla’s first book, the short story collection The Withdrawal Method, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award and the Trillium Book Award, as well as being shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His debut novel, People Park, was shortlisted for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. Malla lives in Hamilton, Ontario.
About the Writers’ Trust
The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs, including ten national literary awards, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country.
About the Prize
The Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize recognizes Canadian writers of exceptional talent for the year’s best novel or short-story collection as selected by a three-member, independent judging panel. The prize has been sponsored by Rogers Communications Inc. since its inception in 1997. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the prize. The winner was announced November 2 at the Writers’ Trust Awards in Toronto.
About the Sponsor
Rogers Communications is a leading provider of Wireless, Cable TV, High Speed Internet and Home Phone services to consumer residences and businesses in Canada. They have generously sponsored this award since it was created in 1997.