June 22, 2015
Ontario’s Trillium Book Award goes to Kate Cayley
by Nick Davies
Canadian writer Kate Cayley was awarded the Trillium Book Award last week, for her collection of short stories, How You Were Born. Deborah Dundas reports for the Toronto Star that Cayley edged out big-name writers like Margaret Atwood to claim the prize.
Sponsored by the government of Ontario, the Trillium prize was created in 1987 by Wilfried Vanderelst, the Director of the Libraries and Community Information Branch at the time. It’s intended to celebrate writers from Ontario in particular, and is awarded each year in order to “recognize excellence, support marketing and foster increased public awareness of the quality and diversity of Ontario writers and writing.” In 1994, the Award expanded from its English-language origins to include the Prix Trillium for francophone authors, and in 2003, they started presenting awards for poetry in both languages as well.
In a ceremony on Wednesday, Cayley was named the winner of the 2015 prize, over Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress, Dione Brand’s Love Enough, James King’s Old Masters, and Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle. Atwood has won the Trillium herself three times; Brand and Thomas King have each won once before as well. Other notable past honorees include Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje.
Cayley was overwhelmed over her win. Mark Medley writes for the Globe and Mail that she said afterward, “I thought I was dreaming. It’s a first collection, I’m not well-known, it’s a small press – I’m a bit gobsmacked about it.” A versatile writer, Cayley has previously written plays, a poetry collection, and a young adult novel; How You Were Born is her first fiction book for adults.
Cayley—and the winners in other categories—will receive $20,000 as part of the Trillium Book Award, and their publishers will get $2,500 to help promote the winning books.
Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.