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Writers’ Trust of Canada Raises Literary Prize to New Heights:
Sponsorship from the Honourable Hilary Weston Will Help Propel Prominence of Canadian Nonfiction

Weston Prize Announcement pic
(Credit: Tom Sandler Photo; L-R: Kristine Stewart, Executive Vice President, CBC English Services; The Hon. Hilary M. Weston; Peter Kahnert, Chair, The Writers' Trust of Canada)

TorontoMay 11, 2011 – The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced today a generous sponsorship from Hilary Weston that will create the largest annual literary award for a book of nonfiction published in Canada. 

To be entitled the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the award will provide $60,000 to the eventual winner. Up to four finalists will each receive $5,000. The prize will be presented in Toronto at a gala event this fall which honours the prize finalists and champions their work. An additional education component will be developed to provide Canadian high schools with resources to connect prize finalists and their writing with young readers.

“Our writers are held in great esteem world-wide for the quality and range of their ideas and ability to express them,” said Mrs. Weston. “I am honoured to have this unique opportunity to recognize our writers and contribute to meaningful efforts aimed at further enhancing the status of nonfiction writers in Canada and around the world.”

This award succeeds the Writers' Trust Nonfiction Prize, which was without a sponsor since 2008.

“This generous sponsorship, combined with Mrs. Weston’s personal support, leadership and partnership, is transformational in taking our efforts to a whole new level of excellence to reward and recognize some of our finest writers,” said Mr. Peter Kahnert, Writers’ Trust Chair and Senior Vice President, Raymond James Ltd. “This new award will help shine a light on great Canadian writers and their writing for many years to come.”

About the Hon. Hilary M. Weston, CM, OOnt

Hilary WestonThe 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 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 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 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003.

Mrs. Weston has been the recipient of six honorary degrees. Born Hilary Frayne in Dublin in 1942, she married Galen Weston in 1966. They moved to Toronto in 1974 and maintain additional residences in Florida and England. Mr. and Mrs. Weston have two married children, Alannah and Galen, and four grandchildren: two girls, Maia and Lola with Alannah and her husband Alex, and two boys, Graydon and Griffin with Galen and his wife Alexandra.

About the Prize

The prize is awarded for literary excellence in the category of nonfiction, which includes, among other forms, works of personal or journalistic essays, memoirs, commentary, and criticism, both social and political; history, and biography. Finalist works will demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and technique. Originally established in 1997, the prize has previously been awarded to 14 writers. In total 69 titles have been finalists for the prize.

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.


For further information:
Debby de Groot, MDG & Associates, 416-363-1448,

Writers' Trust Sponsorship

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