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2017 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction Jury

Writers’ Trust of Canada Announces 2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction Jury

August 15, 2017
Toronto – The Writers’ Trust of Canada has revealed the three-member jury for the 2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the richest annual literary award for a book of nonfiction published in Canada. The jurors are: journalist and journalism professor Susan Harada, environmental journalist and author Arno Kopecky, and science writer Siobhan Roberts.

“As always, I await the jury’s decision with great anticipation, and look forward to finding out which outstanding books and authors will join the growing list of those recognized by this prize,” said prize sponsor The Hon. Hilary M. Weston. “I would also like to thank the three esteemed writers who make up this year’s jury for their commitment to the important and impressive field of Canadian nonfiction.”

The prizewinner will receive $60,000; prize nominees will receive $5,000 each. Past winners include Naomi Klein for This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Rosemary Sullivan for Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, and Deborah Campbell for A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War.

Finalists will be announced on September 20, 2017. The prizewinner will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio on November 14, 2017.

“Through this prize the Writers’ Trust is proud to celebrate books on a wide range of topics and to shine a spotlight on Canadian nonfiction writers at all stages of their careers,” said Mary Osborne, executive director of the Writers’ Trust. “We are grateful to Mrs. Weston for her ongoing support, and to the members of this year’s jury for helping us to recognize and celebrate vital Canadian voices and to give nonfiction writers the support they deserve.”

About the Jury

Susan HaradaSusan Harada is the associate director of the School of Journalism and Communication, head of the journalism program, and an associate professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. Previously, she worked in journalism for two decades in a variety of roles, mainly with the CBC. She has written for The Walrus and, and contributed chapters to The Canadian Federal Election series and Justices and Journalists: The Global Perspective.


Arno KopeckyArno Kopecky is an environmental journalist and author based in Vancouver. His writing has appeared in The Walrus, Foreign Policy, The Globe and Mail, and Reader’s Digest. His first book, The Devil’s Curve, made Amazon’s top-100 list for 2012. His second book, The Oil Man and the Sea, won the 2014 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Nonfiction and was shortlisted for a Governor General’s Literary Award, the Hubert Evans Nonfiction Prize, the Lane Anderson Award for science writing, and the Banff Mountain Book Competition for Adventure Travel.

Siobhan RobertsSiobhan Roberts is a Toronto-based journalist and author whose work focuses on mathematics and science. She contributes to The New Yorker “Elements” science blog, Quanta, Nautilus, and The Walrus. Her first book, King of Infinite Space: Donald Coxeter, The Man Who Saved Geometry, won the Mathematical Association of America’s 2009 Euler Book Prize. Her latest book is Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway, for which she was longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize and British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Nonfiction.

Click each thumbnail to download larger images of the jurors.

About The Hon. Hilary M. Weston, CM, CVO, OOnt

Hilary Weston

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 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.


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