Esi Edugyan

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Esi Edugyan
Esi Edugyan at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 2018
Edugyan reading at the Eden Mills Writers' Festival in 2018
Born 1978 (age 39–40)
Calgary, Alberta
Occupation Writer
Nationality Canadian
Period 2004–present
Notable works Half-Blood Blues
Notable awards Scotiabank Giller Prize
2011 Half-Blood Blues
Spouse Steven Price

Esi Edugyan (born 1978) is a Canadian novelist.[1]


Born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, to Ghanaian immigrant parents,[1] Edugyan studied creative writing at the University of Victoria, where she was mentored by Jack Hodgins, and earned a master's degree from Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars,[1][2] Her debut novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne, was published in 2004 and was shortlisted for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in 2005.[3]

Despite favourable reviews for her first novel, Edugyan had difficulty securing a publisher for her second fiction manuscript.[1] She spent some time as a writer-in-residence in Stuttgart, Germany, which inspired her to drop her unsold manuscript and write another novel, Half-Blood Blues, about a mixed-race jazz musician in World War II-era Europe who is abducted by the Nazis as a "Rhineland Bastard".[1]

Published in 2011, Half-Blood Blues was announced as a shortlisted nominee for that year's Man Booker Prize,[4] Scotiabank Giller Prize,[5] Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize[6] and Governor General's Award for English language fiction.[7] Edugyan was one of two Canadian writers, alongside Patrick deWitt, to make all four award lists in 2011.[5][8]

On 8 November 2011, she won the Giller Prize for Half-Blood Blues.[9][10] Again alongside deWitt, Half-Blood Blues was shortlisted for the 2012 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction.[11] In September 2012, in a ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, Edugyan received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in fiction for Half-Blood Blues, chosen by a jury consisting of Rita Dove, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker and Simon Schama.[12] [13]

In 2014 she published her first work of non-fiction, Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home, with the University of Alberta Press.[14] In 2016 Edugyan was writer-in-residence at Athabasca University in Edmonton, Alberta.

Her third novel, Washington Black, was published in September 2018.[15] In July 2018 it was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize,[16] and in September it was longlisted for the Giller Prize.[17]

Personal life[edit]

Edugyan lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and is married to novelist and poet Steven Price, whom she met when they were both students at the University of Victoria.[1] Her first child was born in August 2011.[18]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Donna Bailey Nurse, "Writing the blues". Quill & Quire, July 2011.
  2. ^ John Threlfall, "Writing grad Esi Edugyan makes shortlist trifecta", Fine Arts, University of Victoria, 4 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Esi Edugyan: History, Culture, and Belonging", The Douglas Review, 1 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Two Canadians Shortlisted for Man Booker". The Mark, 6 September 2011.
  5. ^ a b John Barber, "Generation Giller: New young writers dominate Canada's richest fiction prize",The Globe and Mail, 4 October 2011.
  6. ^ John, Barber, "Booker nominees Edugyan, deWitt make shortlist for Writers' Trust prize",The Globe and Mail, 28 September 2011.
  7. ^ Greg Quill, "Edugyan, deWitt contemplate 'an embarrassment of riches'" Archived 4 January 2013 at Toronto Star, 11 October 2011.
  8. ^ John Barber, "Edugyan and deWitt add GGs to long list of nominations", The Globe and Mail, 11 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Esi Edugyan wins the Giller Prize". CBC News, 8 November 2011.
  10. ^ John Barber, "Author Esi Edugyan takes home the Giller Prize", The Globe and Mail, 8 November 2011.
  11. ^ "Edugyan and deWitt face off in yet another literary contest", The Globe and Mail, 4 April 2012.
  12. ^ "The 2012 Anisfield-Wolf Award Winners Announced". Cleveland Public Library, 25 April 2012.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Julie Baldassi, "Spring preview 2014: non-fiction, part 2", Quill & Quire, 18 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Read an excerpt and see the cover of Esi Edugyan's upcoming novel, Washington Black". CBC Books, 26 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Man Booker prize 2018 longlist – in pictures". The Guardian. 23 July 2018. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 July 2018. 
  17. ^ "Esi Edugyan, Patrick deWitt, Tanya Tagaq among 12 authors longlisted for 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize". CBC Books, September 17, 2018.
  18. ^ Marsha Lederman, "Esi Edugyan: A new baby, and an armful of literary-award nominations", The Globe and Mail, 7 October 2011.

External links[edit]