Wow! One of the doctors that I work with in the ER, Vincent Lam, received a very prestigious writing award on Tuesday evening! He won the Giller prize!
What is the giller prize?
Jack Rabinovitch founded The Giller Prize in 1994 to honour the memory of his late wife Doris Giller, an outstanding literary journalist who died of cancer in April 1993. He was assisted by several friends – most notably the late Mordecai Richler, author Alice Munro, and academician David Staines – in building the Prize’s creative template.
In 2005, The Giller Prize teamed up with Scotiabank to create The Scotiabank Giller Prize. It is the first ever co-spons0rship for Canada’s richest literary award for fiction. Under the new agreement, the purse doubled growing to Cdn. $50,000 with $40,000 going to the winner, and $2,500 being given to each of the four finalists. The Scotiabank Giller Prize is dedicated to celebrating the best in Canadian fiction each year, and to enhancing marketing efforts in bringing these books to the attention of all Canadians.
Dr. Lam is such a wonderful man. I’m so very happy for him. He’s a very good doctor and great to work with too. Actually, I think all the docs I work with in the ER are good to work with- they really do listen if a nurse has concerns about a patient.
My husband had shown me a newspaper article about the Giller prize and the 5 nominees two weeks ago. The article that I read featured Vincent Lam. As soon as I saw the article I had a feeling he would win.
The top 5 nominees were chosen out of over 100 nominees. The five that had been up for the final prize all wrote very good books. Dr. Lam was the newest author in the group, I believe.
The awards were shown on TV on Tuesday evening and before each nominee came up to the stage a brief description of their book and their life was shown through something that had been filmed earlier.
Dr. Lam’s presentation was hilarious- to me anyway because they present his book in the hospital setting – the hospital that I work in actually and the characters in the little sketch that they showed were all doctors, nurses and even a unit clerk that I work with in the ER. My husband and I were laughing – “Oh there’s Annette!” “Colleen, you big drunk!” Ahhhh “Dr. Kanahi” (gorgeous man), “Pam? Pam? She’s not nurse.” and Dr. Kumar too! It was meant to be a serious and dramatic short film, but when you know the people that were shown in a film it somehow becomes quite humorous.
Famous Canadian Author Margaret Atwood presented Dr. Lam (she actually discovered him), and then just before the award was presented the three judges discussed their feelings about each of the 5 novels up for the prize. Two of the judges are famous Canadian authors, and one was our former Governor General (remember highest position in Canada besides the Queen) Adrian Clarkson. The Governor General was the only one to discuss Dr. Lams book. To me – the author that presented him, and the judge that discussed him being such prominent Canadian figures told me a lot – I just knew he would win the award.
In the last 10 minutes of the show they awarded the Giller Prize to Dr. Lam. He kept his cool and did a very nice acceptance speech. I was so very proud of him, and of course I still am.
The CBC did an interview with Dr. Lam the following day.
His book – Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures is what appears to be a serious of short often humorous stories, but they all tie in together in the end.
He brings to vivid and convincing life the disparate but interdependent worlds of school and home, heartbreaking young love and life-altering fear in stories that introduce us to Fitz, Ming, Chen, and Sri, young medical school students and doctors in Toronto.
In “How To Get Into Medical School,” the impulsive Fitz and the ultra-rational Ming explore the possibilities of a relationship that is tested, first by the vigilance of a disapproving family and then by the extraordinary commitment demanded of medical students. In “Take All of Murphy,” three students face the challenge of their first dissection of a corpse — and the unusual quandary of deciding whether following the anatomy textbook or keeping a tattoo intact is more important. And in “A Long Migration,” perhaps the most lyrical of the stories, we see beyond Chen’s immediate world into the past of his family, and in particular that of his grandfather. Once a high-living and flamboyant member of the Chinese expatriate community in Saigon before the Vietnam War, now Percival Chen is dying in a Brisbane retirement home, and his grandson’s modern medical recommendations must make way for older potions that arrive for Percival from an older world.
You can read more about Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures: Stories at amazon, and you can purchase the book there as well, or in your local bookstore as it should be on store shelves now.