Omar El Akkad wins $100K Scotiabank Giller Prize for novel What Strange Paradise

Omar El Akkad has won the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel What Bizarre Paradise.

The $100,000 prize is the richest in Canadian literature.

El Akkad is a Canadian journalist and creator who now life in Portland. He is also the creator of the novel American War, which was defended on Canada Reads 2018 by actor Tahmoh Penikett.

“I failed to assume I had a prospect in hell of successful this … this is by much the finest honour in my job,” claimed El Akkad in his acceptance speech. “I’ve experienced the amazing honour of remaining stated in the same breath as four fantastic authors, any of whom could be standing up right here right now.”

What Strange Paradise is a novel that tells the story of a world wide refugee crisis as a result of the eyes of a child. Nine-year-old Amir is the only survivor from a ship complete of refugees coming to a little island country. He finishes up with a teenage girl named Vanna, who life on the island. Even although they really don’t share a typical language or tradition, Vanna will become decided to continue to keep Amir protected. What Strange Paradise tells the two their stories and how they every arrived at this moment, although inquiring the queries, “How did we get listed here?” and “What are we likely to do about it?”

“It is really a repurposed fable. It can be the story of Peter Pan inverted and recast as the tale of a modern day little one refugee,” El Akkad said in an interview with CBC Guides.

El Akkad’s fellow finalists integrated Miriam Toews for Combat Night , Angélique Lalonde for Superb Frazzled Beings, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia for The Son of the House and Jordan Tannahill for The Listeners.

Watch | Omar El Akkad accepts the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Omar El Akkad accepts the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Omar El Akkad gained the Scotiabank Giller Prize, a $100,000 award, for his novel What Odd Paradise on Nov. 8, 2021. 1:56

“Tonight, there will be extremely very little celebrating [right now] because I still will not believe that any of this happened. These had been outstanding writers on the shortlist. Just to be in their company is some thing that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Possibly tomorrow, [I’ll do] a minor little bit of celebrating, but it really is nonetheless pretty surreal proper now,” El Akkad explained to CBC Publications.

“For the earlier two months, I’ve been pointed out in the very same sentence as these authors whose do the job has meant so significantly to me above the several years — authors who are likely to be again up on that phase quite a few, quite a few moments in their professions — and authors who have inspired me and continue on to inspire me. That’s the long lasting legacy of this for me. I’m thrilled to be in this position, but to be any where in the exact circle as these folks, this is a privilege.”

The 2021 five-human being jury was chaired by Canadian writer Zalika Reid-Benta and also involved Canadian writers Megan Gail Coles and Joshua Whitehead, Malaysian author Tash Aw and American author Joshua Ferris.

The jury go through 132 textbooks, narrowed it down to a longlist of 12 and then a shortlist of five.

Shortlisted writers, from remaining to proper, Angelique Lalonde, Jordan Tannahill, Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia, Miriam Toews and Omar El Akkad pose on the crimson carpet as they arrive for the 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize, in Toronto, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. (Chris Youthful/The Canadian Push)

“Amid all the anger and confusion bordering the global refugee disaster, Omar El Akkad’s What Weird Paradise paints a portrait of displacement and belonging that is at once unflinching and tender,” the jury mentioned in a statement. 

“In inspecting the confluence of war, migration and a feeling of settlement, it raises queries of indifference and powerlessness and, in the long run, presents clues as to how we may reach out empathetically in a divided world.”

This year’s televised gala in Toronto, co-hosted by poet Rupi Kaur and actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, highlighted a musical overall performance by Measha Brueggergosman Lee and the Denzal Sinclaire Quartet. The 2021 occasion returned to its standard in-person festivities — with attendees acquiring been asked to show evidence of vaccination and photograph ID on entry — just after web hosting a on-line livestreamed event in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

El Akkad was presented with the $100,000 award by Elana Rabinovitch, the daughter of Jack Rabinovitch, and Scotiabank’s government vice president and chief internet marketing officer John Doig.

Jack Rabinovitch established the prize in honour of his late wife Doris Giller in 1994. Rabinovitch died in 2017 at the age of 87.

Past Giller Prize winners consist of Souvankham Thammavongsa for How to Pronounce Knife, Esi Edugyan for Washington Black and Half-Blood Blues, Margaret Atwood for Alias Grace, Ian Williams for Reproduction and Alice Munro for Runaway.

View | The 2021 Scotiabank Giller Prize broadcast