Please Enter a Search Term

Grant follows Winterset victory with national award

By Janet Harron | May 7, 2010

Memorial English department per course instructor Jessica Grant is racking up the literary awards this season for her novel Come Thou Tortoise.

In addition to winning the 2009 Winterset Award in March, in Toronto on April 27 she was presented with the prestigious First Novel Award.

When asked for her thoughts on winning the national award, Dr. Grant commented, “I'm beside myself and honoured and happy and this is more than I ever expected and I still haven't calmed down. Very surprised.”

Come, Thou Tortoise is about a woman who moves from Oregon to her old family home in St. John's. Much of the novel is told from the perspective of a pet tortoise named Winnifred.

The novel was hailed by jury member Stuart Woods of Quill and Quire magazine as “a heartfelt tale full to the brim with warm sentiment and the gentle absurdities of contemporary life.” 

Past winners of the $7,500 prize, first awarded in 1976 and originally known as the Books in Canada First Novel Award, include Michael Ondaatje, Joseph Boyden, Anne Michaels and last year’s winner, Joan Thomas.

The jury was comprised of poet and novelist Priscila Uppal, author and past winner Joseph Boyden, and Hal Wake, artistic director of the Vancouver International Writer’s Festival.