1999 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Winner

1999 Peter Oliva for The City of Yes, published by McClelland & Stewart Winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Year 3: 1999

Peter Oliva
The City of Yes
McClelland & Stewart

1999 Peter Oliva for The City of Yes, published by McClelland & Stewart Winner of the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

What begins as a trip to another continent becomes a journey into a Looking-Glass world in which one country’s myth is another’s reality, where centuries are bridged in a single thought and where the ordering principle is that of story.

And what an exuberant, multi-skeined traveler's tale this is—as full of silent meaning as a haiku, as elegant as calligraphy, comic, compassionate and entirely magical. This one-of-a-kind literary invention captured the jury through the sheer joy experienced in its reading.”

-1999 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize jury (Lynn Coady, Sylvia Fraser, and Eric Wright)

About the Book

In Saitama to teach English, the narrator is confronted by unlikely visions of home as he gradually enters the world of contemporary Japan, with its floating stories, enigmas, and contradictions. His own story is deftly interwoven with that of a real-life nineteenth-century Canadian adventurer, whose strange confinement in a Japanese prison, beginning in 1848, is so vividly imagined by the narrator. Full of delightful tales and eccentric characters, and written with the delicacy of a brushstroke artist, The City of Yes is suffused with warm humour, and with the intelligence and curiosity of a keen observer of life’s riches and eccentricities.

About the Author

Peter Oliva is a novelist and journalist whose work has appeared in Canada, France, Spain, Italy and Japan. He has written for numerous periodicals, including BRICK, Canadian Geographic, The Globe & Mail, and Japan's largest newspaper, The Daily Yomiuri. He was raised in Italy and Canada, and has studied Japanese in Saitama, Japan.




Woodcock Fund



Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


September 19 for books published between June 20 and September 18, 2018


Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize


July 18 for books published between May 16 and Sept 30, 2018


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