Jack Rabinovitch, the "beloved businessman who created the Scotiabank Giller Prize, an award that boosted the profiles and sales of countless Canadian fiction authors" and honored his late wife, died August 6, CBC News reported. He was 87. Although Rabinovitch "tackled several careers throughout his life, including journalism, food retail and real estate... it was the Giller Prize that made him a recognizable face across Canada and around the world."
The idea for the award was conceived over drinks with renowned author Mordecai Richler. "It started at a pub in Montreal called Woody's and ended up at a famous restaurant in Montreal called Moishes, and over chopped liver we decided what to do," Rabinovitch said in 2012.
The prize was established in 1994, a year after the death of Rabinovitch's wife, literary journalist Doris Giller, to honor her as well as recognize excellence in Canadian fiction. Initially endowed a cash prize of CA$25,000 (about US$19,715), the Giller Prize partnered with Scotiabank in 2005 and the winner's share grew to $40,000 ($31,545), and in 2014 it increased again to $100,000 ($78,870).
"We learned a long time ago that authors are really interested in selling their books, that's how they make a living, so that's what we're trying to do--is help them make a living," said Rabinovitch, whose signature line at every Giller gala was: "For the price of a dinner in this town, you can buy all the nominated books. So, eat at home and buy the books."