Winnipeg author Katherena Vermette wins $40K First Novel Award

Winnipeg writer Katherena Vermette has added to her growing list of accolades with top honours from the First Novel Award.

The award-winning Metis author received the $40,000 grand prize for The Break at a ceremony held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto on Thursday night.

The acclaimed debut novel centres around the lives of residents in Winnipeg’s North End.

RELATED: Katherena Vermette reads her award-winning poetry

The Break previously won the 2017 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Now in its 41st year, the award has a lengthy history in honouring and beginning the careers of notable Canadian novelists, with past winners including Michael Ondaatje, W.P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Joseph Boyden, David Bezmozgis, Andre Alexis and Madeleine Thien.

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The prize is co-presented by Amazon and the Walrus Foundation.

The four other finalists each received $6,000.

  • Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains by Yasuko Thanh (Hamish Hamilton)
  • White Elephant by Catherine Cooper (Freehand Books)
  • Accordeon by Kaie Kellough (ARP Books)
  • So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum (McClelland & Stewart)

Head judge Tanis MacDonald was joined by award-winning authors Casey Plett and Gurjinder Basran on the panel selecting the winner from among the five finalists.

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