The 100,000 Canadian dollar ($76,000) prize honors the best in Canadian fiction. Past winners have included Margaret Atwood, Mordecai Richler and Alice Munro. Williams singled out Atwood in his acceptance speech Monday. He says the first book he bought with his own money was an Atwood book.
Atwood said she chose to celebrate her 80th birthday at the literary bash in memory of Jack Rabinovitch, the late businessman-philanthropist who created the prize 25 years ago.