The announcement of the 2018 winner was made by city librarian Vickery Bowles at the Toronto Reference Library in a celebratory event Wednesday night attended by book fans from across the city and hosted by the Toronto Star’s books editor Deborah Dundas.
Chariandy’s second novel is the powerfully told story of two Black brothers growing up in a Scarborough housing projects with their Trinidad-born mother. It’s a book the jury called “a lean masterwork driven by spare, painstakingly crafted prose” that has “already become part of the Toronto literary canon.” The book has been embraced and feted since its 2017 release — it won the 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction prize and was longlisted for the 2017 Giller Prize.
This year’s Toronto Book Awards jury was comprised of author Nathan Adler, author/editor Susan G. Cole, author Kevin Hardcastle, poet Soraya Peerbaye and author/bookseller Itah Sadu.
They chose Chariandy’s book from a shortlist of five books — after whittling down from a field of 71 submitted books. “The fact that 71 books evoking Toronto were submitted for consideration this year is all the proof we need that the city has really grown into itself,” said Bowles.