11/05/2013 09:03 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 10:52 EST

Lynn Coady Wins Giller Prize For Hellgoing

Edmonton writer Lynn Coady has won the 20th annual Giller Prize for her short story collection

Coady, originally from Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, was a past finalist for the Giller, considered one of the country's most prestigious writing honours. She called the win "shocking and overwhelming."

The four other finalists for the $50,000 fiction writing prize were:

- St. John's Lisa Moore for her novel Caught.

- Toronto's Dennis Bock for his novel Going Home Again.

- Toronto's Craig Davidson for his novel Cataract City.

- Edmonton's Dan Vyleta for his novel The Crooked Maid.

All five finalists were celebrated at a glitzy, star-studded evening gala in Toronto, with filmmaker Paul Haggis, actress-producer Jennifer Podemski and hip-hop artist Shad among the night's presenters. 

This year's three-member jury — authors Margaret Atwood, Esi Edugyan and Jonathan Lethem — chose the winner. The remaining finalists receive $5,000 each.

The Giller Prize was established by businessman Jack Rabinovitch in memory of his late literary journalist wife, Doris Giller. Past winners have included CanLit icons such as Atwood, Mordecai Richler, Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje. Over the years, winning the prize has also shone a spotlight on lesser-known writers, such as Johanna Skibsrud and Vincent Lam.

Over two decades, the prize has become one of Canada's most prestigious arts honours and spawned a post-win sales boom dubbed the "Giller effect."

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Giller Prize Finalists 2012