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Kobayashi, T.Winner Tamai Kobayashi (photo: Bo Yih Thom)

Writers’ Trust Presents LGBT Literary Award to Author and Screenwriter, Tamai Kobayashi

Dayne Ogilvie Prize Announced During World Pride in Toronto

Toronto, ON – June 23, 2014 – The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced this evening that Tamai Kobayashi has won the 8th annual Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers. Two additional honours were given to Rae Spoon and Proma Tagore.  

The $4,000 prize is given annually to an emerging gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender writer whose published work demonstrates great literary promise. The winner was announced at an event hosted by activist and NOW magazine editor Susan G. Cole at the NOW Lounge in Toronto.

Born in Japan, raised in Canada, Tamai Kobayashi is a writer and screenwriter. She is the author of two story collections, Exile and the Heart and Quixotic Erotic. Her vivid, electric prose has garnered considerable critical acclaim. Her first novel, Prairie Ostrich, published by Goose Lane Editions in March 2014, is the story of coming out and coming of age in a sleepy rural town. Tamai lives in Toronto.

A jury composed of author and artist Anna Camilleri, Cree poet Connie Fife, and memoirist Bill Whitehead selected Kobayashi as the winner. Their jury citation states: 

Tamai Kobayashi’s writing is poetic, funny, and compassionate. With innovative and electric language, she creates thought-provoking narrative with heart, humour, and remarkable insight. In Prairie Ostrich, she has drawn a compelling young character, Egg Murakami, who guides us through the fault lines and intersections of family, loss, and otherness. This novel is for anyone who has spent time on the outside, looking in.

In recognition of their literary achievements, Rae Spoon and Proma Tagore each received an Honour of Distinction and $250 in prize money.

Spoon, RaeTransgender musician and author Rae Spoon’s first book, First Spring Grass Fire, was a finalist for a Lambda Award in the Transgender Fiction category. Earlier this year, Arsenal Pulp Press released Spoon’s Gender Failure, a poignant collection of autobiographical essays, lyrics, and images co-authored with Ivan E. Coyote. Spoon lives in Montreal.

Tagore, PromaProma Tagore was born in Kolkata, India, and immigrated to Canada at the age of four. She currently lives in Victoria, Coast Salish Territories. Tagore edited the anthology In Our Own Voices: Learning and Teaching Toward Decolonisation, and is the author of The Shapes of Silence: Writing by Women of Colour and the Politics of Testimony. Her first book of poetry, language is not the only thing that breaks, is a reflection of the effects of racism and migration on the body.

“The Dayne Ogilvie Prize provides emerging writers with industry support and with encouragement from their peers at a pivotal moment,” said Mary Osborne, executive director of the Writers’ Trust. “Not only do writers receive a tremendous psychological boost, but the award establishes them in the eyes of the publishing industry as being writers to watch.”

About the Prize

Established in 2007 and funded by an endowment established by artist Robin Pacific, the Dayne Ogilvie Prize annually rewards emerging writers whose body of work demonstrates great potential. Canadian writers who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and who have published at least one book are eligible. Although the grant has no age restriction, it is intended to reward developing writers. Past winners include Michael V. Smith, Zoe Whittall, Amber Dawn, C. E. Gatchalian.

About Dayne Ogilvie

Dayne Ogilvie was a highly respected freelance book editor, writer, and literary manager. A passionate lover of all the arts, he was the managing editor of Xtra magazine for several years.

About the Writers’ Trust

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs, including literary awards, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country.


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