Last year, the literary world just north of the U.S. border took notice of Edugyan Esi's novel, Half-Blood Blues. Esi, a 34 year-old Canadian-born author, won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada's highest literary honor. The honor is sweetened by its accompanying $50,000 cash award. If that were not enough, Esi also found herself on the very select short list for the Man Booker award last year, Britain's most distinguished literary honor.
Half-Blood Blues has been called a "bold and original exploration of black jazz musicians in Hitler's Germany."
A recent article in The Vancouver Sun noted that "Half-Blood Blues quickly blossomed into one of Canadian literature's great success stories. Publisher Patrick Crean of Thomas Allen Publishers says his company printed 3,000 copies in August."
Esi's novel was off the charts of Canadian fiction sales: the article also says that "there are now 115,000 copies of Half-Blood Blues in print in Canada. In one week alone, 9,000 copies sold here. Such numbers are remarkable in a country where, if a book sells 5,000 copies, it is deemed a bestseller."
Picador will publish a U.S. edition of Half-Blood Blues in February.