With Rabinovitch at the helm, the Giller is broadcast on CBC-TV and awards $100,000 to the winning author, with $10,000 going to the four other finalists. Generating press and buzz, the prize has increased book sales and brought more Canadian works into the international spotlight.
It was at Concordia, while completing an English degree, that Rabinovitch cultivated her deep appreciation of books. “I loved Concordia. I loved everything about it. I loved the language, the literature, the books, the learning,” she says.
“I was a really keen student. I soaked it all in. It was such a privilege to read these new texts that I might not have otherwise been introduced to.”
While her dad, a former speechwriter and book lover, instilled in her an appreciation of words and language, at Concordia, Rabinovitch delved into contemporary works.
“I had some wonderful teachers who turned me on to not just classic English literature but modern works as well,” she says.
“By that I mean American, British, European and Canadian books, although there was not as much from Canada as I now, looking back, wish there would have been.”
Concordia, CanLit and the Giller
A lot has changed in 20 years and Rabinovitch is pleased to hear that Concordia’s Department of English highlights CanLit with courses like Canadian Fiction to 1950 and Contemporary Canadian Fiction.
The university also contributes to the nation’s literary landscape. The department’s master’s degree in English with a Creative Writing option produces new Canadian fiction from grads like Johanna Skibsrud, MA 05, who won the Giller in 2010.