Esi Edugyan was announced as the winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize for her novel Washington Black (Patrick Crean Edition/HarperCollins Canada) during a televised awards banquet Monday night at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Toronto.

The Giller, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, awards C$100,000 ($78,000) for the best Canadian novel or short story published in English. It is considered Canada's most prestigious literary prize.

Edugyan previously won the prize in 2011 for her novel Half-Blood Blues, making her the third two-time Giller winner, alongside M.G. Vassanji and Alice Munro.

The jury citation called the book "remarkable," and noted, "Edugyan has written a supremely engrossing novel about friendship and love and the way identity is sometimes a far more vital act of imagination than the age in which one lives."

On accepting the award, Edugyan expressed genuine surprise. "I didn't prepare a speech," she said, "because I didn't expect to win."