Sep 7, 2010
Jack Rabinovitch is a philanthropist best known for founding the annual Scotia Bank Giller Prize (named after his late wife, Doris Giller, a former literary columnist and editor at the Toronto Star) for best Canadian novel. Rabinovitch, a reporter and speechwriter who later turned to business, making his fortune in food retailing and real estate, was an executive with Trizec Corporation where he helped develop close to six million square feet of hotel, commercial and retail space. He was Maclean’s magazine’s man of the year in 1999 and is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.
This week his membership in the Order of Canada was upgraded to platinum…he is now an Officer of the Order. Part of the citation for this added honour reads:
"Jack Rabinovitch continues to lend extraordinary energy to the promotion of Canadian literature. Maintaining a very active leadership role in the administration of the Scotiabank Giller Prize, he has negotiated a partnership that has solidified the Giller as Canada’s most lucrative and illustrious literary award. Canadian authors and publishers alike have gained increased sales as a direct result of either a nomination or a win, while the awards have helped to raise the profile of new and lesser-known authors."
We met this morning to talk about the Giller, its contribution to the purchase, reading and discussion of Canadian novels, the various strengths and weaknesses of literary juries adjudicating merit, and his choice for ‘best’ Canadian novel of all time.