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Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Winner: $60,000; Finalists: $5,000 


2014 Shortlist Announcement - September 17
Prize Presentation - October 14, 2014

HWWTP shortlist invite

2014 Prize Jury

The winner of the 2014 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction will be chosen by a jury consisting of 2011 prize winner Charles Foran; writer and creative writing professor Priscila Uppal; and nonfiction writer Merrily Weisbord:

Foran_CharlesCharles Foran is the author of ten books, both fiction and nonfiction. He won the 2011 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Mordecai: The Life & Times. His fifth novel, Planet Lolita, was released in May. Foran holds degrees from the University of Toronto and University College, Dublin, and is a senior fellow at Massey College. He lives in Toronto.

Uppal,-PriscilaPriscila Uppal was dubbed “Canada’s coolest poet” by Time Out London, and was Olympic poet-in-residence at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games and the 2012 London Summer Games. Born in Ottawa, Uppal is now a literature and creative writing professor at Toronto’s York University. Her poetry collection Ontological Necessities was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2007. Uppal was a finalist for the 2013 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for her memoir, Projection: Encounters with My Runaway Mother. She lives in Toronto.

Weisbord-MerrilyMerrily Weisbord was a finalist for the 2010 Writers’ Trust NonFiction Prize for The Love Queen of Malabar: Memoir of a Friendship with Kamala Das, which is about her decade-long friendship with the beloved and controversial Indian writer. Her other books include The Strangest Dream, Our Future Selves, and Dogs with Jobs, for which Weisbord also wrote and created a TV series that aired on the Life Network, CBC, PBS, Oxygen, National Geographic US, and National Geographic International. She lives in Montreal.   

2013 Prize Winner

The Dogs are Eating Them Now

Graeme Smith
The Dogs Are Eating Them Now
Knopf Canada

Greame Smith

Jury Citation

When Graeme Smith travelled to the war in Afghanistan as a young and idealistic journalist in 2005, he fully believed that the international community could “bring the whole basket of civilization to [this country]: peace, democracy, the rule of law.” The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is his painfully detailed, eyebrow-raising account of what he saw during his six years of reporting on that effort for the Globe and Mail: a tragic mix of cultural ignorance, miscommunication, greed, brutality, and political naivete that no amount of individual courage and dedication could ultimately overcome. A graphic but determinedly even-handed memoir that does much to counter the reams of official spin this topic has endured over the years.

About the Book

The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is a raw, uncensored account of the war in Afghanistan from a young reporter who for several years was the only Western journalist brave enough to live full-time in the dangerous southern region. Graeme Smith provides a highly personal narrative of the war and how it went dangerously wrong, taking readers into back alleys, cockpits, and prisons. From the corruption of law enforcement agents and the tribal nature of the local power structure to the economics of the drug trade and the frequent blunders of foreign troops, Smith provides a candid look at the Taliban's continued influence—and at the mistakes, catastrophes, and ultimate failure of the West's best intentions.

About the Author

Graeme Smith covered the Afghan war for the Globe and Mail from 2005 to 2009. He has also been a correspondent for the paper based in Istanbul, Delhi, and Moscow. For his investigative reporting Smith has received numerous awards, including three National Newspaper Awards, the Amnesty International Award, the Michener Award, and, for his multimedia series “Talking to the Taliban,” an Emmy Award. Currently based in Kabul, Smith is a senior analyst for the International Crisis Group, which offers non-partisan analysis and advice to governments and intergovernmental bodies on the prevention and resolution of deadly conflict.

2013 Prize Finalists

Thomas KingThomas King | The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America  
Published by Doubleday Canada

JB MacKinnonJ.B. MacKinnon | The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be 
Published by Random House Canada

Andrew SteinmetzAndrew Steinmetz | This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla 
Published by Biblioasis

Priscila UppalPriscila Uppal | Projection: Encounters with my Runaway Mother 
Published by Dundurn Press


See photos from the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction gala.

Nonfiction Education

HWWT-Student-Nonfiction-Writing-Contest_PosterThe Writers' Trust is proud to announce a nonfiction writing contest for Canadian high school students in grades 9-12. Ashley Ash, the inaugural winner, recently received $2,500 plus $1,000 for her school for her heartfelt memoir, "No One's Girl." Read the top six pieces now at writerstrust.com/students.

Free nonfiction teaching resources are also available at writerstrust.com/education for senior high school educators to explore contemporary Canadian nonfiction with students by introducing them to books nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

About the Honourable Hilary M. Weston, CM, OOnt

Hilary WestonHon. 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 is a trustee of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and serves on the board of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mrs. Weston is also a corporate director of Wittington Investments and Selfridges Group Ltd. She has also 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, was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2003, and is the recipient of six honorary degrees. 

About the Prize

The prize 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 succeeds the Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize, which was established in 1997.


Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
Final Deadline

November 5, 2014 for books published between
July 9 & Dec 31

Berton House Writer-in-Residence

October 3, 2014

Woodcock Fund





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