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Source: University of Toronto

U of T physician wins Giller Prize on first try

November 8, 2006

Lam mixes passion for writing, medicine Nov 8/06 by Michah Rynor (about) (email)

Vincent Lam, a 1999 University of Toronto medical school graduate and a part-time clinician with the Department of Family and Community Medicine, has won this yearís prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize for writing for Bloodletting & Miracle Cures (Doubleday), a collection of short stories.

The Giller, presented last night in Toronto, is the most lucrative literary award in Canada with the winner receiving a $40,000 first prize. This is the first time it has been awarded to a first-time author and only the second time a short story collection has been chosen.

"Iím astounded. Iím overcome," Lam told the gathering on hearing that he had won. "There are so many people who have been so kind to me in this room Ė I especially owe a great debt to Margaret Atwood."

Atwood, herself a U of T grad, met Lam while he was working as an on-board physician during an Arctic cruise she was taking. During the trip he asked her if she would look at his manuscript. She was on hand at the ceremony to cheer him on.

Lam is currently a hospital emergency physician at Toronto East General Hospital. He worked in a Toronto hospital during the SARS epidemic in 2003 and is the co-author of the non-fiction text The Flu Pandemic and You: A Canadian Guide (Doubleday). While the textbook examines the epidemiological aspects of the SARS virus, his short story collection explores a number of modern-day moral dilemmas, one of which involves a group of young U of T med students.

This year 101 books were submitted for consideration from 36 publishers in this competition, honouring excellence in Canadian fiction.



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