CBC Television Produces the Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala, Adds Red Carpet, Celebrities

Photo: BizBash

The Scotiabank Giller Prize Gala celebrated the best in Canadian novels and short stories on November 8 at the Four Seasons Hotel. After five years with national broadcaster CTV, the Giller Prize signed a five-year, exclusive media partnership with CBC this year. “We wanted the literary community to be excited and reinvigorated,” said Claire Adams, executive producer at CBC Television, who produced the event. “We heard such positive feedback and were thrilled with the overall product.” The gala drew 525 invite-only guests.

Adams and her team added some glamour to the event with a red carpet, step-and-repeat, and a CBC Live interview area at the entrance of the Four Seasons’ Regency Ballroom. “I didn’t realize that no one had done the red carpet before [at the Giller Prize Gala],” Adams said. “I think people were surprised at first.” As the invite-only guests were notable members of the local literary community, Adams also decided that every guest should be photographed at the step-and-repeat. “It’s good for the media and archival purposes,” Adams said, adding that guests also enjoyed receiving a photo.

Also new this year was the addition of celebrity presenters, including Nelly Furtado, Jian Ghomeshi, Ron MacLean, and Lisa Ray. “We wanted to get some star power behind the books,” Adams said. CBC did a lead-up to the event, encouraging the presenters to reach out to their many followers on Twitter with the hopes of familiarizing a completely new audience to the Giller Prize. The tactic appeared to be successful as #GillerPrize trended on Twitter across Canada on the night of the gala.

The gala included a cocktail reception, dinner, a performance from Chinese pianist Lang Lang, and the live broadcast of the awards ceremony. Esi Edugyan took home the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel Half Blood Blues.

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