Sunday, November 12, 2006

Emergency Doc Wins Giller Prize

Congratulations Vincent!

Vincent Lam, an emergency physician at Toronto East General, where I once worked in the histology lab during a med school summer, has recently won Canada's most prestigious literary award, the Giller Prize. In an excellent Canadian tradition, he won it for a collection of short stories called Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures.

In presenting the award, Margaret Atwood, who met him when he was the ship physician on a cruise boat doing an arctic nature tour and assisted him to find a publisher said, "Medicine is a narrative art, just like fiction. Both have their fingers on life and death."

She also described his book as "subtle in emotion and occasionally gruesome in humour."

The Giller comes with a $40,000 cheque. There is already talk of a TV series based on the book. Well done, Vincent!

My sister, bless her, says I just need to find a mentor like Atwood.

I claim a sort-of connection with Maggie, who eschews use of this nickname except by close friends. In a wonderful book club I started a while back, I made a rule that we would not discuss Atwood. I had my reasons and over time, others in the group developed other reasons. They were, if nothing else, creative and humorous.

It was our only rule, so every time someone visited, joined or asked about our book club, we had to review our one and only rule. Of course this involved a lot of discussion about Atwood with examples drawn from her life and writing and over time covered every book she ever wrote, in detail. Canadians know such a lot about Margaret Atwood!

Some discussions would start, "There is a new book out by the author we don't discuss...".

So we ended up talking about her way more than any other author, just exactly what I was hoping to avoid. In fact it almost became the Margaret Atwood Book Club. This is a phenomenum known well by people who seek to ban books. And I too have learned my lesson.

Photo: Doubleday



Anonymous mchebert said...

Thanks for that tip. I'll be looking for his book. It is also my aspiration to publish a book of essays one day.

By the way, today I make good on my promise to add you to my blogroll. Sorry for the delay.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Ruth said...

I went to a large Canadian bookstore on the weekend to get this book, but they had none in stock. I heard he was a bit of a surprise winner so perhaps the publishers were not prepared. Looking forward to finding it!

5:00 PM  
Blogger Borneo Breezes said...

Michael -If publishers watched the blogs as they should, you would already be published. Thanks for dropping by and for the link.

Ruth - I'm looking forward to it too. A case could be made for a couple of chapters on the internet or even whole downloads. Many of us would probably go out and buy it for our friends afterwards. I enjoy hearing from you.

11:14 AM  

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