Regina writer devastated after winning $ 20,000 Glengarry Book Prize, Saskatchewan’s biggest literary prize
Regina author Dianne Warren says she almost fell from her chair after finding out she was the inaugural winner of the Glengarry Book Prize, Saskatchewan’s largest literary prize.
âI really didn’t expect it,â said Warren, who won the $ 20,000 prize for his latest novel, The Diamond House.
“There are so many good books and so many good writers.”
Warren was announced earlier this month as the inaugural winner of the Glengarry Book Prize, a new award presented by the Saskatchewan Foundation for the Arts and donor Claire Kramer. It is open to established professional fiction writers with a connection to Saskatchewan.
Warren’s winning novel, The Diamond House, takes place in Regina and tells a story that spans nearly a century and explores the hopes, dreams, regrets and frustrations that are a part of life.
Warren said there are many ways to block women’s ambitions, and she was interested in exploring the little things that have a big effect on a person’s life.
At the heart of her novel is a woman named Estella Diamond, who “assumes that she will have the same status as her brothers when it comes to the family business.” [a brick factory]said Warren, former recipient of the Governor General’s Award for her novel Fresh water.
“But she finds out that she doesn’t, and it affects the rest of her life.”
Estella, the daughter of a very conservative mother, also finds letters between her father and his late first wife.
âThe first wife was as different as possible from Estella’s mother. She was an artist, a free spirit, a suffragist, and Estella became a bit obsessed with the mythology of her father’s first wife,â said Warren.
“So I was very interested in this complex relationship between Estella and her father and what she knows about her father and his relationship with his first wife.”
Weekend in Saskatchewan12:05Dianne Warren wins Saskatchewan’s biggest literary award
Warren says she aims to focus on the characters in her novels.
“By the time you’re done [the book], you feel like these are people you know intimately, âWarren said.
“So when a jury says they appreciated the attention given to the character in the book, that means something to me.”
She also sifted through Regina’s history while writing the novel.
âWe know the story of southern Saskatchewan agriculture very well. But for me, I hadn’t given much thought to the companies that have developed to support this,â Warren said.
âYou know, we all know about Regina clay. So I really liked this idea of ââbuilding from the material we live on – the idea of [Estella’s father] as a businessman and in particular, a man who starts a brick factory with clay. “
Warren said winning the award gives the book a chance to find its audience.
âIt’s a very crowded market, so it’s very difficult for a book to find its readers,â Warren said.
“I think it makes a huge difference not just for the writer, but for the individual book that wins an award for spreading the word and drawing attention to the book.”