Two of the biggest book awards in the country, they carry a $60,000 and $50,000 prize for the winner, respectively.
The beautifully curated livestream announcement event featured the shortlisted authors for both awards speaking about, and briefly reading from, their books over themed video installations after an introduction by host Kamal Al-Solaylee.
Al-Solaylee then first announced Gil Adamson as the winner of the The Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for Ridgerunner (House of Anansi Press).
Adamson, who was a fan favourite to win for her electric follow up to her previous novel, The Outlander, pre-recorded an acceptance speech where she called herself "lucky to even be on this list, given the calibre of the books on it." She praised the Writers' Trust, saying she personally knows a number of writers whose lives had been positively changed by the organization, adding "as my life is now by this award... that's what funding the arts does – it creates more art." She also offered heartfelt thanks to many people involved with the book, ending with her partner, the poet Kevin Connolly.
Next, the Hon. Hilary M. Weston announced Jessica J. Lee as the winner of the Weston Prize for Two Trees Make a Forest: Travels Among Taiwan’s Mountains & Coasts in Search of My Family’s Past (Hamish Hamilton Canada).
Lee was gracious in her recorded acceptance, saying she was "frankly astounded" to join the ranks of the previous Weston winners. She noted that she was a "voracious reader of nature writing" as a child, but that she "rarely say stories like [her] own." She noted that in recent years, she's observed changing trends towards a more inclusive landscape in nature writing and noted that "to be any small part of that shift is incredible." She thanked her mother specifically for her blessing for Lee to write her very personal book, and her grandparents, about whom the book was written.
Book lovers will want to stay tuned for the final installation of the 2020 Writers' Trust Awards on December 2, where the organization will present several body of work awards, including the Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of A Writing Life, the Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People, and Writers’ Trust Engel Findley Award.
For more information about the Writers' Trust Awards, and the finalists and their books, please visit the Writers' Trust website.
The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction is funded by the W. Garfield Weston Foundation.