Will Ferguson Wins $50K Giller Prize

Author and humourist wins for his book "419."

Jennifer Coxby Jennifer Cox

Writer Will Ferguson took home the coveted Scotiabank Giller Prize last night at a gala ceremony in Toronto for his work "419," also winning the $50,000 cash award that comes with it.

"I want to thank the jury for putting together such a fresh list of books," Ferguson said on stage to accept the prize (as reported by CBC News). "I commend them for taking the books on their own merit, without preconceptions – which is how a jury should act.

"Ladies and gentlemen: To the written word," he added, raising a flash he produced from his pocket. "And finally, to answer the question you're all wondering – yes I have something on underneath!" he concluded, referring to the traditional kilt he wore to the event.

The jury cited about Ferguson's book, "Will Ferguson's '419' points in the direction of something entirely new: the Global Novel. It is a novel emotionally and physically at home in the poverty of Lagos and in the day-to-day of North America. It tells us the ways in which we are now bound together and reminds us of the things that will always keep us apart. It brings us the news of the world far beyond the sad, hungry faces we see on CNN and CBC and far beyond the spreadsheets of our pension plans. Ferguson is a true travel writer, his eye attuned to the last horrible detail. He is also a master at dialogue and suspense. It is tempting to put '419' in some easy genre category, but that would only serve to deny its accomplishment and its genius."

The writer, who hails from Calgary, is known for his travel writing but veered off the beaten path in his latest work. He is the author of the award-winning "Happiness," "Spanish Fly," and "Beyond Belfast."

Photo: www.scotiabankgillerprize.ca