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About the Prize

The Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction is given annually for excellence in the category of literary nonfiction, which includes essays, history, biography, memoir, commentary, and criticism. The winning book demonstrates a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and technique. The prize has been sponsored by The Hon. Hilary M. Weston since 2011.

2020 Winner

Jessica J Lee

Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts

Hamish Hamilton Canada

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)

2020 Finalists

Jury

Our 2020 jurors are Helen Knott, Sandra Martin, and Ronald Wright. They read 107 titles before deciding on a shortlist of five.

“Winning the Weston Prize was like having a huge burst of fireworks go off in the middle of my life — an explosion of adrenaline and joy.”

– Candace Savage


2012 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction winner

About The Hon. Hilary M. Weston

The 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. A recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service, Mrs. Weston serves on the board of the Aga Khan Museum and is Founding Patron and Chair Emeritus of Prince’s Trust Canada.

Mrs. Weston is a director of Wittington Investments, the family holding company, and Selfridges Group; and is a member of the International Advisory Board of Sotheby’s. She has 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 and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003. She received the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. Mrs. Weston was invested by the Queen as a Commander in the Royal Victorian Order in October 2015 and is the recipient of several honorary degrees.