Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Finalists for inaugural HIlary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction announced at nifty press conference

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Hilary Weston

We loved the unique format of the press conference today announcing the finalists for the inaugural Hilary Weston Writers' Trust for Nonfiction. Following lovely introductory remarks by Hilary Weston and Peter Kahnert, Chair of the Writers' Trust Board, a series of CBC personalities -- Eleanor Wachtel, Nora Young, Dwight Drummond, Laurie Brown and Paul Kennedy -- took to the stage to first read an excerpt from a nominated work and then announce the winner. It was neat to listen to the excerpt and recognize the work as a way of learning who the finalists are. Furthermore, once a finalist's name was announced, they spoke to the audience, answering questions, via a big screen and Apple's FaceTime technology.

And the finalists for Canada's newest and biggest (each finalist receives $5,000 and the winner is awarded $60,000) nonfiction prize are:

Charles Foran, Mordecai: The Life & Times

Charlotte Gill, Eating Dirt

Richard Gwyn, Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald

Grant Lawrence, Adventures in Solitude

Ray Robertson, Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live

Following the announcements, attendees were able to sit down at those gorgeous big Mac screens for one-on-one conversations and congratulations via FaceTime with the five finalists.

Congratulations to all the finalists! Dear Reader, please note you now have a most excellent reading list recommended above, for the autumn and winter ahead.

Finalists were selected by a three-member jury composed of Brian Brett, a writer and farmer from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia; Devyani Saltzman, a writer and curator of literary programming for Toronto’s Luminato Festival; and Russell Wangersky, a writer and editorial-page editor of the St. John’s Telegram.

We were also delighted to hear about the Prize's savvy educational component. Mrs. Weston unveiled a teaching resource booklet that will provide Canadian high-school educators with a tool to introduce the writing and ideas of the prize finalists to young readers. The booklet will be distributed to select schools across the country and the Prize's educational resources will also be available online. What a fantastic idea.

The winner of the inaugural Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction will be announced on October 25, 2011. Until then, read the books and let us know your vote.

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