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Writers' Trust Fiction Prize heaps on awards acclaim for finalist Esi Edugyan


TORONTO — The awards nods keep on coming for Canadian novelist Esi Edugyan's "Washington Black."

The Victoria-based author is among five finalists for the lucrative Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize honouring the year's best novel or short-story collection.

This marks the third nomination in recent weeks for Edugyan, whose latest novel also earned her a spot as a finalist for the Man Booker Prize for fiction, and has been longlisted for this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize.

"Washington Black" (Patrick Crean Editions) follows the saga of an 11-year-old boy who escapes slavery at a Barbados sugar plantation with the help of the owner's kinder brother.

The winner of the $50,000 Writers' Trust Fiction Prize will be announced Nov. 7. Each of the finalists will also take home $5,000.

Other contenders include Montreal-based Rawi Hage for "Beirut Hellfire Society" (Knopf Canada), which has also been longlisted for this year's Giller prize, telling the tale of an undertaker's son who is drawn into an anti-religious sect during the Lebanese Civil War.

St. Catharines, Ont.-raised Craig Davidson is being recognized for "The Saturday Night Ghost Club" (Knopf Canada), about a young boy who teams up with his uncle to explore the grim urban myths that haunt Niagara Falls. 

Vancouver's Jen Neale also made the cut for her novel about Canada's seaside life, "Land Mammals and Sea Creatures" (ECW Press), which expands on the short story that won her the 2011 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.

Rounding out the short list is U.K.-born Kathy Page, who now lives on Salt Spring Island, B.C., with "Dear Evelyn" (Biblioasis), a Second World War-era romance inspired by original 1940s love letters.

A jury comprised of authors Ann Y. K. Choi, Mireille Silcoff, and Robert Wiersema culled the finalists from 128 books submitted by 54 publishers.

Past winners include Alice Munro, Joseph Boyden, Lawrence Hill, Miriam Toews and the late Austin Clarke.

The Canadian Press

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