Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Winner: $60,000; Finalists: $5,000

Prize Guidelines

A prize of $60,000 will be awarded to a literary nonfiction book published between October 1, 2013 and September 17, 2014 that, in the opinion of the jurors, is the year’s best book of nonfiction. Literary nonfiction includes, among other forms, works of personal or journalistic essays, memoirs, commentary, criticism both social and political, history, and biography. Finalist works will demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and technique. The overall effect of such writing should provide the general reader with an informed, unique perspective on the issue at hand. The jurors will shortlist between three and five titles. Prizes of $5,000 will be awarded to each of the finalists.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Titles must be published in Canada between October 1, 2013 and September 17, 2014. Books that are not yet in final published form by the final deadline of July 30, 2014 may be submitted as bound galleys.

  • Books must be English-language, first-edition trade books published by a Canadian press, written by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Previous publication in another country does not disqualify a book.

  • Translations from other languages into English are eligible and will be considered in the year in which the English translation is published. In the event of a translation winning the prize, the prize money will be divided as follows: $45,000 to the author, $15,000 to the translator.

  • To be eligible publishing houses must have a professional editorial process independent from the authors whose books are submitted for consideration. They must not charge authors for publishing their works.

  • All books must have an ISBN number and be available in Canadian bookstores.

  • Titles may be single-authored or co-authored. Multi-authored collections, anthologies, and conference proceedings are not eligible.

  • Self-published books are not eligible.

  • Ghostwritten books are not eligible.

  • No more than 20% of the manuscript can have previously been published in book form.

  • Books whose author was deceased at the time of publication are not eligible.

  • Publishers should note that the prize is for literary excellence; they should only submit books they deem outstanding in this regard.

Nomination Process

The schedule for submissions is tied to publication dates as follows:

Deadline 1: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 
For books published between October 1, 2013 and March 25, 2014

Deadline 2: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 
For books published between March 26, 2014 and May 27, 2014

Deadline 3: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 
For books published between May 28, 2014 and September 17, 2014*

*Final eligibility date for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non´Čüction is earlier this year.

Publishers are strongly encouraged to submit books prior to the deadlines. Submissions upon release of titles are appreciated. If a publisher, for any reason whatsoever, feels they cannot submit titles in accordance with the above schedule it is requested that they contact the Program Manager to discuss the possibility of an extension.

Number of Submissions

All Canadian-based publishers of original manuscripts may enter two books; companies publishing more than ten eligible nonfiction titles may add one book for every additional ten eligible books (or fraction thereof) on their nonfiction list, up to a maximum of five. See the chart below for reference.

Books Published:

 Eligible to Submit:
10 or fewer 2
11 - 20 3
21 - 30 4
31 or more 5


Required Materials

The following must be submitted by the final deadline on July 30, 2014:

  • Five copies of each eligible title in book form; or three bound galleys, with at least two copies of the finished book to be received by the Writers’ Trust upon publication

  • A Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction submission form listing all submitted titles and planned submissions sent with the first shipment of books (do not send multiple copies unless you make changes to your submission plans)

  • Publishers submitting more than two titles must provide a list of all titles published during the calendar year on which that publisher’s eligibility is based. This list should include authors, titles, and dates of publication

  • Electronic images of the author and book cover suitable for reproduction in print materials. Contact the Program Manager for instructions on sending large images. Please name each file as follows: “Nonfiction_AuthorLastName_FirstName” and “Nonfiction_AuthorLastName_BookTitle” 

Electronic Submissions

Publishers are invited to provide titles electronically in addition to hard copies submitted to the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Please send ePub file formats only. Contact the Program Manager for details on how to deliver files.

Jury Composition

The winner and finalists of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction are chosen by a three-person jury. The jury acts independently of the Writers’ Trust and is charged with interpreting the mandate and eligibility criteria of the prize, as well as determining which of the submissions best reflect the prize mandate. In evaluating the writing, literary merit is the sole criteria. Each juror may request an unlimited number of additional titles from a publisher’s list. Such titles are on equal footing with all other submissions, provided that their publishers agree to abide by the conditions laid out in this document. The judgment of the jury in selecting the winners, determining eligibility, and interpreting these rules is final.

Announcement of Nominees & Winners

The list of finalist authors will be announcedon September 17, 2014 and the award will be presented on October 20, 2014 at a gala event in Toronto. These dates are subject to change.

If an author is a finalist the publisher will agree to:

  • Supply the Writers’ Trust with 24 additional copies of the shortlisted book for publicity

  • Affix stickers provided by the Writers’ Trust to finalist books and the winning book

  • Participate in promotion and publicity efforts undertaken by the Writers’ Trust and stress the importance of this with their authors.

  • Commit resources, in accordance to their ability, to ensure shortlisted authors are able to attend the International Festival of Authors in Toronto in October 2014

*Send submissions to:
Amanda Hopkins, Program Manager
The Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction
Writers’ Trust of Canada
600 - 460 Richmond Street West
Toronto, ON  M5V 1Y1

*Please note the Writers' Trust of Canada has moved


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

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October 3, 2014

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