V.V. Ganeshananthan won the $150,000 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, given annually to a book by a woman or nonbinary author in the U.S. or Canada, for her novel Brotherless Night.

Ganeshananthan was named the winner at a ceremony Monday night at The Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto hosted by poet Natasha Trethewey.

Ganeshananthan’s novel, published in January 2023 by Random House, tells the story of a young woman who takes a job as a field medic for the Tamil Tigers, the militant Sri Lankan organization that was active in the late 20th century and early 21st century. The book is also a finalist for this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction.

The Carol Shields Prize jury said in a citation, “An ambitious and beautifully written novel, Brotherless Night explores how ordinary people can be swept up in political violence and, despite their best efforts, eventually be swallowed by it. Through her sensitively crafted characters, V.V. Ganeshananthan asks us to consider how history is told, whom it serves, and the many truths it leaves out. A magnificent book.”

The Carol Shields Prize, named after the Canadian author of The Stone Diaries and Small Ceremonies, was first awarded last year, to When We Were Sisters by Fatimah Asghar.

Michael Schaub is a contributing writer.