Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalists announced

Via Writers’ Trust of Canada

On September 25, the Hon. Hilary M. Weston and The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced the five finalists for this year’s $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the richest annual literary award for a book of nonfiction published in Canada. The announcement took place at Loblaws® at Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Ontario.

In a unique twist designed to inspire discussion of the shortlisted books, prize organizers announced the addition of two high-profile Canadians – Maclean’s contributing editor and columnist Barbara Amiel Black and CTV National News correspondent Seamus O’Regan – to the already existent three-member jury. All five jurors will deliberate to select the eventual prizewinner, to be announced at a gala event in Toronto in November.

This year’s finalists are:

  • Kamal Al-Solaylee for Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Modris Eksteins for Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery, and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age (Knopf Canada)
  • Taras Grescoe for Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • JJ Lee for The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Candace Savage for Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape (Greystone Books/David Suzuki Foundation)

Each finalist will receive $5,000, with the eventual prizewinner receiving a total of $60,000.

Finalists were selected and announced by a three-member jury composed of James Bartleman, a writer and former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from Perth, Ontario; Charlotte Gill, a writer and past prize finalist from Powell River, British Columbia; and Marni Jackson, a writer and nonfiction writing instructor from Toronto. In total, 104 titles were submitted by 51 publishers for the 2012 prize.

To further the teaching of contemporary Canadian nonfiction, the prize produces a resource booklet for Canadian high-school educators as a tool with which to introduce the writing and ideas of the prize finalists to young readers. This booklet will be distributed to select schools across the country and will be available for free download from the iBookstore. Additionally, a series of school visits will be organized to bring the prize finalists into high schools in their communities and connect young readers with their work.

“This prize is a marvellous opportunity to celebrate and reward our country’s remarkable nonfiction talent and draw attention to the quality of their work,” said Mrs. Hilary Weston. “I eagerly look forward to reading the titles this year’s jury have selected and sharing them with readers in Canada and abroad.”

Starting September 25, Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) will feature the five titles shortlisted for the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize in more than 200 Loblaw banner stores nationwide.

All of the finalists’ works will be available today for download from the iBookstore on iPhone, iPad or iPod, or at www.itunes.com/WestonPrize.

Prize finalists will be in Toronto on October 20 for a book signing at Loblaws® at Maple Leaf Gardens and on October 21 at the International Festival of Authors.

Additional support for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize is provided by media partners CBC Books and The Globe and Mail.

Further event information and high-resolution images are available at writerstrust.com

To facilitate the promotion of Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize nominated books, an online catalogue for retailers has been created through BookNet Canada’s CataList program.

About the Prize
The prize is awarded for literary excellence in the category of nonfiction, which includes, among other forms, personal or journalistic essays, history, biography, memoirs, commentary, and criticism, both social and political. Finalist works will, in the opinion of the jury, demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and technique. This award succeeds the Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize, which was established in 1997.

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