The shortlist for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, revealed on Thursday, is made up of five titles which also appear on the longlist for the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize (formerly the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction), announced on Wednesday.
The shortlisted titles for the BC National Award (which is open to all Canadian writers) are:
Graeme Smith's The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan. Smith's account of what he witnessed in Afghanistan, where he was reporting for The Globe and Mail. The book won this year's $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. The BC National Award jury calls it "a disturbing, depressing and essential book about Canada's long, misguided Afghanistan mission."
Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, which was a finalist for the Weston Prize. "King's wry and, at times, angry recounting of the relationship between first nations people and those who came after is remarkable work. Highly personal, yet remarkably well-researched and documented, he lays bare uncomfortable truths about history, politics and modern North American culture," reads the jury citation, in part.
The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be – also on the Weston Prize shortlist – by J.B. MacKinnon (best known for The 100-Mile Diet). A Vancouver resident, MacKinnon is the only B.C. author on the shortlist. The jury writes that MacKinnon "in lush hypnotic prose ... paints an unforgettable picture of a long-gone world, while inspiring us to believe that something like it could once again be achieved."
Carolyn Abraham's memoir The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us, which was also a finalist for this year's Governor General's Award for Non-fiction. Like Smith, Abraham is a former Globe and Mail journalist. "Rigorously researched and finely written, Abraham's discovery of some disturbing facts about her ancestors leads to the inescapable conclusion of our common humanity," reads the jury citation, in part.
Margaret MacMillan's The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914. The jury calls it "a formidable accomplishment by a great historian [which] also provides delicious portraits of the times and of the men who led, stumbled, and strutted their way into a war they all assumed would not, could not, happen."
The five finalists were selected from 141 submissions by a jury made up of author and publisher Anna Porter, Vancouver Sun columnist Daphne Bramham, and Globe and Mail books editor Jared Bland.
The $40,000 prize offered by the British Columbia Achievement Foundation will be awarded in February, 2014.