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Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction Shortlist Combines Urgent Social Issues with Powerful Personal Storytelling

Open Book_Hilary Weston Shortlist 2022 Writers Trust

This morning, the Writers’ Trust of Canada announced the five finalists for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, with an interesting mix of subject matter, publishers, and literary styles. 

Funded by the Weston Family Foundation, the $60,000 prize is the richest annual literary award for a book of nonfiction by a Canadian writer.

The jury, composed of Canadian writers Mark Bourrie, Cheryl Foggo, and Jessica McDiarmid, chose the shortlisted titles from 103 submissions from 63 imprints across the country.

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction 2022 Shortlist:

  • The Petroleum Papers: Inside the Far-Right Conspiracy to Cover Up Climate Change by Geoff Dembicki (Greystone Books)
  • Nothing Will Be Different: A Memoir by Tara McGowan-Ross (Rare Machines/Dundurn Press)
  • The Long Road Home: On Blackness and Belonging by Debra Thompson (Scribner Canada)
  • The Invisible Siege: The Rise of Coronaviruses and the Search for a Cure by Dan Werb (Crown)
  • Making Love with the Land by Joshua Whitehead (Knopf Canada)

It's an intriguing list, with research-heavy explorations of urgent social issues sitting side by side with powerfully personal storytelling, including a memoir from literary superstar Joshua Whitehead, whose poetry and fiction have won numerous literary awards. One of two independent publishers on the list, Dundurn Press is represented by its new imprint, Rare Machines.

The winner will be announced on Wednesday, November 2 at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony hosted at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. The ceremony marks the first in-person celebration of the nonfiction prize since 2019. The winner will take home $60,000, with the remaining finalists each receiving $5,000. 

Writers' Trust Executive Director Charlie Foran called the list "a timely and accurate representation of topics that have likely crossed, in some cases dominated, our thoughts in recent years...[these are] books that speak to our circumstances, both shared and individual."