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Jessica J

Jessica J. Lee received the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. Her first book, Turning, which chronicles her journey swimming 52 lakes in a single year, was longlisted for the Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors. Lee has a doctorate in environmental history and aesthetics. Originally from London, Ontario, she now lives in the United Kingdom.


Jessica J. Lee on Two Trees Make a Forest, 2020 Weston Prize winner

Award History

2020 Winner

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction
for Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts

Jury Citation

“Two Trees Make a Forest clears a path into the geographical wonders of Taiwan, a country best known for its fractious relationship with the People’s Republic of China. Jessica J. Lee shares her knowledge of linguistics and environmental history as she hikes the fault lines of her own family’s story in sentences that make you gasp in admiration. Hers is a tale of political disruption, civil war, displacement, environmental ravages, and intergenerational trauma. She sets a speedy narrative pace, like a trained guide with nightfall looming, but she knows the value of slowing her stride so readers can absorb the luscious vistas she is describing and the familial tragedy she is mourning. This book will haunt you.”

— 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction jury (Helen Knott, Sandra Martin, and Ronald Wright)