Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
Winner: $60,000; Finalists: $5,000
A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape
Greystone Books and David Suzuki Foundation
"One day in late September of 2000, Candace Savage travels from her home in Saskatoon to Eastend, a village of 600 people on the eastern edge of the Cypress Hills. A two week vacation evolves into a decade-long fascination with the region and the writing of A Geography of Blood, a part-memoir, part history, part geological survey, part lament, part condemnation of the accepted myth of the settlement of the Western Plains, and above all, a haunting meditation on time and place."
About the Book
When Candace Savage and her partner buy a house in a romantic little town in the Cypress Hills of southwestern Saskatchewan, she at first enjoys exploring the area and meeting local wildlife. But soon, a darker reality is uncovered. A Geography of Blood details the story of an important era in prairie settlement history that Canadian textbooks simply gloss over. Catapulted by a visit to the boyhood home of the late American writer Wallace Stegner, strong motifs of trauma, repression, and recollection shape this intimate first-person account of the town of Eastend, Saskatchewan.
About the Author
Candace Savage splits her time between Saskatoon and Eastend. She is a celebrated writer of dozens of books and essays, many of which have been translated into multiple languages. In 2010, Savage was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in recognition of her scholarly and artistic achievements.
Candace Savage | A Geography of Blood
Click on the covers below to learn more information about the four prize finalists:
Kamal Al-Solaylee | Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes
Taras Grescoe | Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile
Published by HarperCollins Canada
Modris Eksteins | Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery, and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age
Published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada
Published by HarperCollins Canada
JJ Lee | The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit
Published by McClelland & Stewart
The prize winner was announced at a gala presentation in Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music on November 12, 2012.
Finalists were selected by a three-member jury composed of authors James Bartleman, Charlotte Gill, and Marni Jackson. The initial jury was then joined by two prominent Canadians, Barbara Amiel Black and Seamus O’Regan, offering a fresh look on the chosen works.
James Bartleman had a distinguished career of more than 35 years in the Canadian Foreign Service serving as a diplomat in Cuba, Israel, South Africa, and elsewhere. In 2002, he became the first aboriginal Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and during his tenure he worked hard to improve literacy amongst First Nations children. Bartleman is the author of four works of nonfiction and a novel, As Long as the Rivers Flow. He lives in Perth, Ontario.
Charlotte Gill's Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe was a finalist for this prize in 2011. It also won the BC National Award for Canadian Nonfiction and was a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction. Gill is the author of Ladykiller, a collection of short fiction that was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and winner of the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. She lives in Powell River, British Columbia.
Marni Jackson has won numerous National Magazine Awards for her journalism. From 2006–2009 she was Rogers Chair of the Literary Journalism program at The Banff Centre, a month-long residency for professional nonfiction writers. She is also on the faculty of the Mountain Writing program at Banff. Jackson is the author of three books of nonfiction, most recently, Home Free: The Myth of the Empty Nest, which was published in 2010. She lives in Toronto.
Barbara Amiel Black is a journalist and writer known for her witty commentaries and strong opinions. A longtime columnist for Maclean’s magazine, she has been a columnist for The Times and The Daily Telegraph, a recipient of the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best Fact Crime Book, and was the first female editor of The Toronto Sun.
Seamus O’Regan, originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland, is a broadcast journalist with experience interviewing the world’s top political figures, real-life heroes, and Canadians from coast-to-coast. For ten years he co-hosted Canada’s most watched morning news show and now serves as correspondent for CTV National News.
2012 Nonfiction Teaching Resource
The purpose of the teaching resource is to help senior high-school educators explore contemporary Canadian nonfiction with students in grades 11 and 12 by introducing them to the books nominated for the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.
Discover more about each book and add to the student experience, visit writerstrust.com/education
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.