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Ms. Lynn Coady - Congratulations on Winning Giller Prize


Hon. Michael L. MacDonald: Honourable senators, on the evening of Tuesday, November 5, 2013, writer Lynn Coady won the $50,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize for the best book of Canadian fiction.

Hellgoing, her collection of short stories, was a follow-up to her novel The Antagonist, which was a Giller finalist in 2011. The newspapers referred to her as an Edmonton writer. Jian Ghomeshi, who hosted the awards, informed us that she is actually from many places.

Let us set the record straight: Lynn Coady is a Cape Bretoner. She was born and raised in Port Hawkesbury, on the God-fearing side of the Strait of Canso, which separates Cape Breton Island from the heathen mainland of North America.

The Coadys are long established in Cape Breton and associated traditionally with Inverness County. In the 1820s and 1830s, four Coady brothers from Tipperary, Ireland — Martin, John, Peter and James — settled near present-day southwest Margaree, in the beautiful Margaree Valley.

Although three of the four brothers drowned together, many years later, while fishing on Margaree Harbour, they had by then large families that left a lasting influence.

Lynn's 84-year-old father, Jim, is from southwest Margaree, and grew up as a close neighbour of my 87-year-old mother-in- law, Alice Gillis, and both of them, I'm pleased to say, are in great health.

My own children are direct descendants of two of these four Coady brothers through their Grandmother Gillis.

The Coadys have produced many accomplished people, such as the Reverend Moses Coady, the leader of the Antigonish Movement. The world-renowned Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish is named in his honour.

In this regard, Lynn Coady continues the pursuit of excellence and accomplishment that Cape Bretoners have come to expect from the extended Coady family.

I have known Lynn Coady for many years now. Her parents, Jim and Phyllis, have lived directly across the street from me for 13 years. Lynn comes home every year to visit her parents. She is a lovely and intelligent person, unassuming and unpretentious, but completely committed to her craft and profession.

When Jim and Phyllis became my neighbours, I, of course, became familiar with all of their family. Lynn has three brothers. Jim would say about Lynn — or Lynnie, as he always calls her — "She wants to be a writer. I don't know if she can make any money with it, but that's what she wants to do."

Jim, the verdict is in: Lynn Coady has not only proven herself to be one of Canada's finest writers, but she's a commercial success as well. Jim and Phyllis can be proud of their daughter's accomplishment in winning the Giller Prize.

On behalf of all Cape Bretoners and Nova Scotians and all Canadians who appreciate great writing, I pay tribute to Lynn Coady for winning the 2013 Giller Prize and wish her continued success in her chosen field.