Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
Winner: $60,000; Finalists: $5,000
2013 Prize Winner
The Dogs Are Eating Them Now
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.
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Hal Niedzviecki is a writer, cultural critic, and editor. He co-founded Broken Pencil, a literary magazine devoted to underground arts and zine culture. Niedzviecki has published several works of fiction and nonfiction, including Hello, I’m Special: How Individuality Became the New Conformity and The Peep Diaries: How We’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and Our Neighbours, which was adapted into a documentary in 2011. He lives in Toronto.
Candace Savage won the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape. She is the author of more than two dozen nonfiction books on an impressive breadth of subjects, from the cosmic science of the aurora to the inner workings of a beehive. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she splits her time between Saskatoon and Eastend, Saskatchewan.
Andreas Schroeder is a writer of many genres (nonfiction, fiction, journalism, poetry, and translation) who lives in Roberts Creek, British Columbia. He teaches in the University of British Columbia’s Creative Writing Department, where he holds the Rogers Communications Chair in Creative Nonfiction. Schroeder played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Public Lending Right Program, which distributes annual payments to Canadian authors as compensation for the free public access to their books in Canadian public libraries.
Samantha Nutt, founder and executive director of War Child Canada, is the author of the best seller Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies, and Aid. A physician with more than 16 years of experience working in war zones, Nutt is on staff at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto and an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine.
Evan Solomon is a Gemini Award-winning journalist, co-founder of Shift magazine, and the author of several books of fiction and nonfiction. Currently, he is the host of Power & Politics on CBC News Network and The House on CBC Radio One. He writes a monthly column in the Globe and Mail and was previously the host of Hot Type, CBC Newsworld’s show about print culture and ideas.
See photos from the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction gala.
The Writers' Trust is proud to announce a nonfiction writing contest for Canadian high school students in grades 9-12. The winner receives $2,500 and a trip to Toronto in fall 2014, plus $1,000 for their school. The winning work will also be published on Macleans.ca.
Visit writerstrust.com/students for complete eligibility details.
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
Hon. 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.