Canada's Giller prize goes to first-time novelist

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Canada's top literary award for fiction, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, has gone to Nova Scotia-born writer Johanna Skibsrud for her debut novel "The Sentimentalists," the jury announced late Tuesday.

Now living in Montreal, Skibsrud was the first debut novelist to capture the prestigious literary prize since 1999, beating out 97 competitors.

Set in a small lakeside town in Ontario, the book describes a daughter's relationship with her father who is haunted by events during his tour of duty in Vietnam and is now slipping away in a "descending fog of senility," the jury said in a statement.

It "charts the painful search by a dutiful daughter to learn - and more importantly, to learn to understand - the multi-layered truth which lies at the moral core of her dying father's life."

The Giller Prize was founded in 1994 by a Toronto businessman in honor of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller. It comes with a 50,000-dollar cash award financed by Scotiabank.