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O'Regan, Weston, BlackPrize sponsor Mrs. Hilary Weston (centre) with surprise jurors Seamus O’Regan and Barbara Amiel Black (Photo credit: Tom Sandler)

Hon. Hilary M. Weston and the Writers’ Trust Announce Finalists for $60,000 Literary Award

Barbara Amiel Black and Seamus O’Regan join prize jury

Toronto – September 25, 2012 – The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced today the five finalists for this year’s 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 | Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes
Published by HarperCollins Canada

Modris Eksteins | Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery, and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age

Published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada


Taras Grescoe | Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile
Published by HarperCollins Canada


JJ Lee | The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit
Published by McClelland & Stewart 

Candace Savage | A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape
Published by Greystone Books and 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 Nonfiction in more than 200 Loblaw banner stores nationwide.

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.

All of the finalists’ works will be available today for download from the iBookstore on iPhone, iPad or iPod, or at

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

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 Mrs. Hilary M. Weston, CM, OOnt

Mrs. 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 is a trustee of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and serves on the board of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mrs. Weston is also a corporate director of Wittington Investments and Selfridges Group Ltd. She has also 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, was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2003, and is the recipient of six honorary degrees.

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.

About the Writers’ Trust

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 literary awards, financial grants, scholarships, 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.

*Reg’d TM. Lic’d use


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