What the Giller Prize means to Michael Redhill
The author of Bellevue Square won $100,000 this week
The morning after the Giller Prize ceremony, I found a heavily creased cheque for $100,000 in my tuxedo pants. The night before, I'd shown it around – judiciously at first, and then with less caution as the champagne kept magically reappearing in my glass. It was just a little blue cheque with the numbers and letters written out by hand in black ink. It was too casual an object to be what it was: life-changing.
The next morning, I stumbled into my bank with the cheque. As my girlfriend and I stood by the teller's desk with dumb smiles on our faces, I realized neither of us would pass a breathalyzer test. (As I write this, on Thursday afternoon, I might still blow a .05.) The teller – Sonya – took the cheque back to her manager and I saw him clap his hands in a small, excited way. He came out and shook my hand and they informed me there would be no hold on the cheque, as they had already verified the funds. Sonya printed out my deposit slip, looked at it, and shook her head. She passed it over to us and we looked at it and started laughing. When people ask me what the prize means to me, all I have to do is show them this slip of paper.