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Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Winner: $60,000; Finalists: $5,000 


2015 Jury

Stevie-Cameron Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction jurorStevie Cameron is an investigative journalist and the author of six works of literary nonfiction, including On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver’s Missing Women, which was nominated for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and won an Arthur Ellis Award in 2011. She serves on the board of Second Harvest in Toronto and for two decades has worked on projects to assist homeless and under-housed people. In recognition of her humanitarian work and social activism, Cameron was awarded the Order of Canada in 2012. She lives in Toronto.

Will Ferguson Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction jurorWill Ferguson is the author of more than a dozen books ranging from travel guides to works of literary fiction. He won the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his novel 419 and is a three-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. His travels have taken him from Indonesia to Argentina. He has walked across Northern Ireland in the rain and has hitchhiked the length of Japan. In 2010, he was named the head writer on the Vancouver Olympics Closing Ceremonies, penning material for the likes of Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, and Martin Short. He lives in Calgary.

JJ Lee Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction jurorJJ Lee was a finalist for the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit. The book was also shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and the BC Book Prizes Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. In 2014, he hosted the CBC radio show Head to Toe. His fashion and personal essays are published in ELLE Canada. Earlier this year, he served as a juror for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Student Nonfiction Writing Contest, which is affiliated with this prize. Lee lives in New Westminster, British Columbia.

Finalists will be announced on September 16, 2015. The prize winner will be announced at a gala presentation in the Art Gallery of Ontario on October 6, 2015.

2014 Winner

This Changes Everything

Naomi Klein
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate

Knopf Canada


Jury Citation

Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything is a ground-breaking work on how climate change changes everything. Written with an elegant blend of science, statistics, field reports and personal insight, it does not paralyze but buoys the reader. The book’s exploration of climate change from the perspective of how capitalism functions produces fresh insights and its examination of the interconnectedness between our relationship with nature and the creation of better, fairer societies presents a radical proposal. Klein’s urgency and outrage is balanced by meticulous documentation and passionate argument. Heart and mind go hand in hand in this magisterial response to a present crisis.

About the Book

Despite mounting scientific evidence, climate change denialism is surging in many wealthy countries, and extreme fossil-fuel extraction gathers pace. Exposing the work of ideologues on the right who know the challenge this poses to the free market all too well, Naomi Klein also challenges the failing strategies of environmental groups. She argues that the deep changes required should not be viewed as punishments to fear, but as a kind of gift. It's time to stop running from the full implications of the crisis and begin to embrace them. Klein advocates that the climate crisis can become a catalyst of great and positive social transformation.

About the Author

Naomi Klein is a journalist and social activist. Her first book, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, was translated into more than 25 languages and was hailed by The New York Times as “a movement bible.” Her most recent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, was also published worldwide. She is a contributing editor for Harper’s, a reporter for Rolling Stone, and writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian. Klein is a member of the board of directors for 350.org, an organization building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. She lives in Toronto.


Susan Delacourt
for Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them
(Douglas & McIntyre)

Charles Montgomery
for Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
(Doubleday Canada)

Paula Todd
for Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies, and Predators Online

Kathleen Winter
for Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage
(House of Anansi Press)

Nonfiction Education

HWWT-Student-Nonfiction-Writing-Contest_PosterThe Writers' Trust is proud to administer a nonfiction writing contest for Canadian high school students. Nico Branham, our 2015 winner from Vancouver, recently received $2,500 plus $1,000 for her school for her piece, "Outside the Window, a Billion Stars Are Moving Past Me at the Speed of Light." Read it at writerstrust.com/students.

Free teaching resources are available at writerstrust.com/education. These resources help high school educators 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
Second Deadline

September 9, 2015
For books published between Jun 10 - Sept 8

Berton House writer-in-residence 

October 2, 2015


Woodcock Fund




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