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2017 Weston Prize shortlist announced: 5 Books vie for $60,000

Weston prize shortlist

We are officially into the swing of literary prize season, with the Giller Prize longlist announced earlier this week, the Governor General's Literary Awards announcement around the corner (October 4), and today's announcement of Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction shortlist. 

The Weston list is an exciting one, with a mix of subject matter and literary styles. Children's book author and novelist Kyo Maclear makes the leap to nonfiction with great success with her memoir of birding in Toronto; the always charming Ivan Coyote probes gender identity with wit and empathy in their book; previous Writers' Trust nominee (for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing) and acclaimed emergency physician James Maskalyk weaves a tale of medicine at home and abroad; beloved CBC personality Carol Off tells the powerful story of an Afghan family who stood up to a warlord and were forced to flee; and veteran Toronto Star journalist Tanya Talaga exposes the disturbing details (and shameful apathy) surrounding the mysterious deaths of seven Indigenous youths in Thunder Bay. 

The 2017 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction shortlist:

  • Ivan Coyote for Tomboy Survival Guide (Arsenal Pulp Press)
  • Kyo Maclear for Birds Art Life (Doubleday Canada)
  • James Maskalyk for Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine (Doubleday Canada)
  • Carol Off for All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others (Random House Canada)
  • Tanya Talaga for Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City (House of Anansi Press)

Each finalist will receive $5,000. The winner will receive a total of $60,000 and will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony in Toronto on November 14.

The 2017 jury is comprised of 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, which is sponsored by The Hon. Hilary M. Weston and has been since 2011. Since that time, it has expanded in profile and impact to become the landmark non-fiction prize in Canada, with past winners and nominees including Douglas Coupland, Rosemary Sullivan, Ian Brown, Naomi Klein, and Thomas King.