The shortlist for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction was revealed this morning, including native history, environmental issues, Afghanistan reportage, and, for those attending the announcement at the Maple Leaf Gardens location of Loblaws, proximity to a surprising selection of foreign and domestic cheeses. (Weston, the former lieutenant-governor of Ontario, is married to W. Galen Weston, the former chairman of the Loblaw company; the stores have aggressively supported the now three-year-old prize, stocking books and helping to promote the finalists.)
The prize's initial jury, which includes Toronto novelist and critic Hal Niedzviecki, last year's Weston Prize-winner, Saskatchewan's Candace Savage, and Andreas Schroeder, a B.C.-based author and writing teacher, will be joined in their final deliberations by two additional celebrity jurors, Samantha Nutt, author and founder of War Child Canada, and CBC host Evan Solomon.
They will choose the winner from a diverse and intriguing group of finalists, including three books published by Random House companies, and two from smaller presses. The shortlist: Thomas King for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (Doubleday Canada); J.B. MacKinnon for The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be (Random House Canada); Graeme Smith for The Dogs are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan (Knopf Canada); Andrew Steinmetz for This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla (Biblioasis); Priscila Uppal for Projection: Encounters with my Runaway Mother (Dundurn Press).
The winners will be announced in Toronto on Oct. 21.