Arts & Entertainment
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Selvadurai, De Sa shortlisted for Toronto Book Awards

The murder of 'shoeshine boy' Emanuel Jacques; and, a powerful Sri Lankan matriarch reborn as a ghost

Daily Xtra chats with author Shyam Selvadurai. 

Novels by Shyam Selvadurai and Anthony De Sa are among the five finalists for the Toronto Book Awards, announced Aug 22 by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Public Library.

The award honours authors of books of “literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto.”

De Sa is nominated for his novel Kicking the Sky, which weaves in the 1977 murder of Yonge Street “shoeshine boy” Emanuel Jaques; Selvadurai’s novel, The Hungry Ghosts, tells the story of the wily ways of a powerful Sri Lankan matriarch reborn as a ghost.  

Watch video interviews with Selvadurai above and De Sa.  

Also nominated are Charlotte Gray, for her non-fiction book The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country; Carrianne KY Leung, for her novel The Wondrous Woo; and Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis, for their non-fiction book The Stop: How the Fight for Good Food Transformed a Community and Inspired a Movement.

“These wonderful books, so engaging and diverse in their perspectives, are now part of the fabric of our city,” says Anne Bailey, acting city librarian. “They are tales of wealth and privilege, poverty and loss, identity and social activism. Along the way, they touch down in the Annex, Queen West, Scarborough and Little Portugal and reflect the many places Torontonians call home.”

Authors will read from their books at The Word on the Street on Sunday, Sept 21, and will participate in a reading at the Toronto Public Library’s Yorkville Branch on Wednesday, Oct 8, at 7pm.

Each finalist will receive $1,000. The winning author will receive $10,000. The winner will be announced Thursday, Oct 16 at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram & Bluma Appel Salon. The event is open to the public.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards.