Writers’ Trust announces 2018 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalists

Five Canadian authors shortlisted for $60,000 annual award

Toronto – September 19, 2018 – The Writers’ Trust of Canada today announced the five finalists for the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. With a prize of $60,000, this is the richest annual literary award for a book of nonfiction by a Canadian writer. The winner is announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony on Wednesday, November 7, 2018.

This year’s finalists are:

Will Aiken for Antigone Undone: Juliette Binoche, Anne Carson, Ivo Van Hove, and the Art of Resistance, University of Regina Press

After retiring from his teaching position at Dawson College in Montreal, Aiken was invited by long-time friend, Anne Carson, to travel to Luxembourg for the final rehearsals and world premiere of Antigone. A behind the scenes look at the production combined with personal memoir and interwoven with interviews of the principals involved in production.

Elizabeth Hay for All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir, McClelland & Stewart

Hay, an Ottawa-based novelist, won the 2002 Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award and the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and she has been nominated twice for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Her new memoir is about the shift from being a daughter to taking on the role of guardian and caregiver to her parents.​

Terese Marie Mailhot for Heart Berries: A Memoir, Doubleday Canada

Born and raised on Seabird Island, British Columbia, Mailhot is in the creative writing faculty at the Institute of American Indian Arts, where she graduated with an MFA in fiction. Her debut memoir chronicles her struggle to balance the beauty of her Native heritage with the often desperate and chaotic reality of life on the reservation.

Judi Rever for In Praise of Blood: The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front, Random House Canada

Rever, a Montreal-based investigative journalist, has been following the story of Rwanda for more than 20 years. Offering a new perspective, Rever states there was a second genocide in Rwanda and that the violence between the Hutus and Tutsis was more bidirectional than the international community’s official narrative.

Lindsay Wong for The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family, Arsenal Pulp Press

From Vancouver, Wong’s debut memoir is a darkly comic story of her dysfunctional family who blame their woes on ghosts and demons when they should really be on anti-psychotic medication. She holds a BFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia and an MFA in literary nonfiction from Columbia University.

Finalists were selected by a three-member jury composed of writers Michael Harris, Donna Bailey Nurse, and Joel Yanofsky. In total, 107 titles were submitted by 58 publishers for consideration for the 2018 prize. Each finalist receives $5,000.

“This year’s nonfiction finalists focus on themes of coming together in the face of adversity, regardless of our differences,” said prize sponsor The Hon. Hilary M. Weston. “The jury has highlighted some incredible talent, authors with varied experiences and expertise, and it is our pleasure to share this list.”

Additional information is available at writerstrust.com/nonfiction.

About The Hon. Hilary M. Weston, CM, CVO, OOnt
The Hon. Hilary M. Weston served as the 26th lieutenant-governor of Ontario from 1997 to 2002. As the Queen’s representative in Ontario, Mrs. Weston was responsible for the Crown’s constitutional and representational roles in the province. Since leaving public office, Mrs. Weston has continued to pursue her diverse interests. She led Renaissance ROM, the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian cultural history, transforming the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. She serves on the board of the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Aga Khan Museum. She is also Chair of Prince’s Charities Canada.

Mrs. Weston is a director of Wittington Investments, the family holding company, and Selfridges Group; and is a member of the International Advisory Board of Sotheby’s. She has served as deputy chair of the board of Holt Renfrew, promoting Canadian designers in the retailing business.

Mrs. Weston founded the Ireland Fund of Canada and remains a patron of this non-denominational organization promoting peace in Ireland. Her interests in homes and gardens resulted in the publication of In a Canadian Garden (1989) and At Home in Canada (1995). She served as first Chancellor of the Order of Ontario and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003. She received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Mrs. Weston was invested by the Queen as a Commander in the Royal Victorian Order in October 2015 and is the recipient of several honorary degrees.

About the prize
The Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction 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, which has been sponsored by The Hon. Hilary M. Weston since 2011, succeeds the Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize, which was established in 1997. Recent winners include Graeme Smith, Naomi Klein, Rosemary Sullivan, Deborah Campbell, and James Maskalyk.

About the Writers’ Trust of Canada
The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs including ten national literary awards, a fellowship, financial grants, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country. More information is available at writerstrust.com.

About the Writers’ Trust Awards Ceremony
An annual event awarding more than $260,000 to Canadian writers, the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony is one of the richest prize-giving nights in Canada. Zoe Whittall, author of The Best Kind of People, will emcee this year’s event on Wednesday, November 7. In addition to the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, awards to be presented are:

For a single book:

  • Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize  

For a single short story:

  • Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize

For a body of work:

  • Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize
  • Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life
  • Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People
  • Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award

The Writers’ Trust Awards is made possible through generous support from corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors. Partners CBC Books, The Globe and Mail, and Indigo provide additional support. The project is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Media contact
Megan Leahy