Edugyan’s win brings her $50,000 in prize money and a further wave of exposure for her bestselling novel, which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her win caps an impressive year for Edugyan, in which she has been shunted to the forefront of the literary world. Born in Calgary, Alberta to Ghanaian parents Edugyan studied at the University of Victoria before publishing her debut novel The Second Life of Samuel Tyne in 2004.
Half-Blood Blues records the mysterious disappearance of Hieronymous Falk, a rising star in the jazz scene in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Paris. It follows the attempt by Hieronymous’s friend and bandmate Sid to find out the truth of what happened to Hieronymous. The novel engages with the ethnic upheaval of 20th century Europe and questions the way in which our own personal narrative compares to that created for us by history.
Edugyan’s fellow nominees were Patrick deWitt (The Sisters Brothers), Zsuzsi Gartner (Better Living Through Plastic Explosives), Michael Ondaatje (The Cat’s Table), David Bezmozgis (The Free World) and Lynn Coady (The Antagonist).