2015 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Finalist

John Vaillant

John Vaillant
The Jaguars's Children
Knopf Canada


Elizabeth Hay

Jury Citation  

The Jaguar’s Children is a haunting and exquisitely written book of the moment: a powerful novel about the repercussions of global inequity, human indecency, and an individual’s choices in the face of despair. John Vaillant gives us the story of Hector – a Zapotec smuggling himself out of Mexico in search of a better life. Balancing the poignant and luminous with the horrific is no easy feat but The Jaguar’s Children does just that. A praiseworthy addition to Vaillant’s already established standing as one of our very best writers.

About the Book

Hector, a young Mexican fleeing his homeland for a better life in the U.S., pays to be sealed inside the empty tank of a water truck with other illegal migrants. Abandoned by smugglers in the desert and left to die, their only lifeline is a single phone. As time slips away, Hector reveals what has brought him to this moment, taking us back to an older Mexico – its rich culture, its rapid change – and exposes the tangled ties between Mexico and El Norte. Hector fights to ensure his message makes it out of the truck and into the world. An arresting window into the relationship between two cultures and gripping survival story of a young man trapped, perhaps fatally, during a border crossing.

About the Author

John Vaillant won the Pearson Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize for his first book of nonfiction, The Golden Spruce. He is a past recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award, the BC National Award for Canadian Nonfiction, and the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Walrus, among others. The Jaguar’s Children is his first novel. Vaillant lives in Vancouver.




Woodcock Fund


Journey Prize

Feb 21, 2018

Berton House Writers' Retreat

Feb 21, 2018

RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers

Mar 5, 2018

Writers' Trust Fellowship

Mar 12, 2018


Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize


Mar 14 for books published between Oct 1, 2017 and Mar 13, 2018


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