By Carla Warrilow Posted November 22, 2011, 1:02 PM EST
TORONTO 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.
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.