2013 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction Finalist

Once and Future World

J.B. MacKinnon
The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be
Random House Canada

J.B. MacKinnon

Jury Citation

In The Once and Future World, J. B. MacKinnon — until now probably best known as co-author of The 100-Mile Diet — ventures into the darkness of the extinction crisis and discovers unexpected resources of possibility, wonder, and hope. Even as he surveys the damage to what he calls our 10% world, he is struck by the enduring capacity of nature to sustain an abundance and variety of life, a potential that remains as powerful as ever. Smart and subtle, enlightened by original thought, and buoyed by lyricism and wit, this is a book that repays successive readings with undiminished pleasure.

About the Book

The Once and Future World is a prophetic look at nature and human influence, detailing how one generation’s childhood illusions of perfection are merely a culmination of its predecessor’s polluted policies. Alongside an often surprising history of native and introduced species from around the world, J.B. MacKinnon describes how our minds are shaped by personal experiences with nature, explaining how we often forget to think about what once was. While still offering an optimistic plan for an “age of rewilding”, MacKinnon contends that at the very best, our collective memory is short-term when it comes to imagining a pristine environment.

About the Author

Winner of six National Magazine Awards and the 2006 Charles Taylor Prize for his first book of nonfiction, J.B. MacKinnon is a journalist with an eye on the environment. MacKinnon has won over a dozen professional accolades for his reporting, covering stories from the Sudanese Civil War to North American urban anarchists. He is past editor of Adbusters and co-wrote The 100-Mile Diet with his partner Alisa Smith. MacKinnon also penned the script for the National Film Board of Canada’s interactive documentary Bear 71, an innovative blend between film and web which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. He currently lives in Vancouver.




Woodcock Fund



Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


September 19 for books published between June 20 and September 18, 2018


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


July 18 for books published between May 16 and Sept 30, 2018


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