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October 16, 2009
Mayor Miller congratulates Austin Clarke - winner of the 2009 Toronto Book Awards
Austin Clarke was named the winner of the 2009 Toronto Book Awards for his novel More (Thomas Allen Publishers) tonight at a reception at the Appel Salon, the Toronto Reference Library’s new event venue.

“I want to congratulate Austin Clarke for his novel that gives a unique perspective about our diverse city and was selected from over 75 book submissions,” said Mayor David Miller. “Clarke and the other four shortlisted authors tell great stories about Toronto as we celebrate the 35th year of the Toronto Book Awards and Toronto’s 175th year as an incorporated city.”

Toronto Public Library’s City Librarian, Jane Pyper, commented, “Austin Clarke has written a masterful and timely story about a woman and mother, and about the complexity of race and poverty in Toronto.”

The 2009 Toronto Book Awards Committee, made up of members Alexander Greer (chair), Brian Jantzi, Angela Rebeiro, Sarah Rotering and Karen Tisch, volunteered their time to read all of the books and select the shortlist and winner. They described Clarke’s novel as “painting a vivid and powerful portrait of a black woman's four-day journey as she relives her life in Canada as an immigrant from the West Indies. Her enduring sorrow balanced by hard work and short bouts of gaiety and joy ensure her presence as a memorable and powerful figure in Canadian literature.”

Austin Clarke’s work includes six short story collections, three memoirs and 11 novels, including The Polished Hoe, which won the 2002 Giller Prize, the 2003 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the 2003 Trillium Award. Clarke has been named to the Order of Canada and has received four honourary doctorates. He lives in Toronto. His work was chosen from a list of finalists that included Anthony De Sa, for his story collection Barnacle Love (Doubleday Canada); Maggie Helwig, for her novel Girls Fall Down (Coach House Books); Mark Osbaldeston for his history book, Unbuilt Toronto (Dundurn Press); and Charles Wilkins for his non-fiction book, In the Land of Long Fingernails (Viking Canada).

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards, which coincides with the City’s 175th anniversary celebration. Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the Toronto Book Awards honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. The annual awards offer $15,000 in prize money. Each finalist will receive $1,000 and the winning author receives the remaining prize money. For more information about the awards and what the jury members said about all of the books, visit

Toronto Public Library is the world’s busiest urban public library system. Every year, more than 16 million people visit the Library’s 99 branches and borrow more than 30 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit or call Answerline at 416-393-7131.

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto’s incorporation as a city. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Bev Kurmey, Acting Senior Protocol Officer, City Clerk’s Office, 416-392-4674 (office), 416-892-8646 (cell),
Michaela Cornell, Toronto Book Awards Publicist, 647-274-6112,
Tina Srebotnjak, Manager, Program Development, Toronto Public Library, 416-393-7098,



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