Trinidadian born Ian Williams is considered to be one of the country’s top poets. However, he is in the news these days for Reproduction, his first novel. The 38-year old’s book tells the story of three generations of a Caribbean Canadian family living Toronto.
Reproduction is one of five novels that have made the $60,000 First Novel Award. Given out annually by Amazon Canada and The Walrus Magazine, the prize honours the achievements of Canadian authors and their debut novels. Williams left T&T in 1988 and moved to Brampton with his older brother and parents. He turned out to be a brilliant student earning his doctorate in English from the University of Toronto at just 25 years of age. He is currently an assistant professor of poetry in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia.
His first book, You Know Who You Are, was a finalist for the ReLit Poetry Prize. His poetry collection, Personals, was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. A short story collection, Not Anyone’s Anything, won the Danuta Gleed Literary Award for the best first collection of short fiction in Canada. CBC named him as one of ten Canadian writers to watch.
The five nominated books are:
The Amateurs, Liz Harmer
Searching for Terry Punchout, Tyler Hellard
Little Fish, Casey Plett
Split Tooth, Tanya Tagaq
Jonny Appleseed, Joshua Whitehead
Reproduction, Ian Williams
The winner will be announced at the annual Amazon Canada First Novel Award ceremony on Wednesday, May 22, at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto. This year's panel of judges is composed of Diane Schoemperlen, a Governor General Award–winning author of 14 books, including This Is Not My Life which was shortlisted for the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize; Quebec’s Dimitri Nasrallah, and novelist Hugh MacLennan.