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Hilary Weston Writers Trust Prize for Nonfiction shortlist

Writers’ Trust of Canada Announces Finalists for $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Toronto – September 20, 2017 –
The Writers’ Trust of Canada is pleased to announce the five finalists for the 2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the richest annual literary award for a book of nonfiction published in Canada. The prizewinner will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony on November 14.

This year’s finalists are:

Ivan Coyote Tomboy Survival Guide Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for NonfictionIvan Coyote
for Tomboy Survival Guide 
Arsenal Pulp Press
“An intimate, irreverent memoir about growing up transgender in a rigidly gendered world."


Kyo Maclear Birds Art Life Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalistKyo Maclear
for Birds Art Life 
Doubleday Canada
"A poetic and philosophical ode to life and art, with birds as the motivating force."


James Maskalyk Life on the Ground Floor Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalistJames Maskalyk
for Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine,
Doubleday Canada
"Moving from crisis to crisis, Maskalyk wields visceral and edgy prose."

Carol Off All We Leave Behing Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalistCarol Off

for All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others
Random House Canada
"An insightful contemplation of journalism’s mission."

Tanya Talaga Seven Fallen Feathers Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction finalistTanya Talaga
for Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
House of Anansi Press
"A searing critique of Canada’s ongoing colonial legacy."

Each finalist will receive $5,000. The prizewinner will receive a total of $60,000.

Finalists were selected by a three-member jury composed of journalist and journalism professor Susan Harada, environmental journalist Arno Kopecky, and science writer Siobhan Roberts. In total, 100 titles were submitted by 54 publishers for consideration for the 2017 prize.

“In each of these books, the author presents a subject vital to our understanding of the modern world,” said prize sponsor The Hon. Hilary M. Weston. “Posing difficult questions and conveying great empathy, this year’s finalists offer a window into many different lives. The prize jury has put forward an exceptional list, which it is my great pleasure to share now with readers.”

The prizewinner will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio on November 14, where a total of seven national literary awards and more than $200,000 in prize money will be presented to Canadian writers. Additional prize information is available at

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.

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, 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.

About the Writers’ Trust Awards Ceremony

An annual event awarding more than $200,000 to Canadian writers, the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony is one of the richest prize-giving nights in Canada. In addition to the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, awards to be presented are:

For a single book:

For a single short story:

For a body of work:

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.


For more information and interview opportunities, contact:
Becky Toyne, 416-871-0502

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