The winners of two prestigious Canadian literary awards were announced today (November 18) at a ceremony hosted by writer Kamal Al-Solaylee in Toronto, as part of the Writers' Trust: Books of the Year Edition, that was broadcast online.
The five finalists for the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction were announced by the Writers’ Trust of Canada on September 30.
The jury—consisting of Helen Knott, Sandra Martin, and Ronald Wright—read 107 titles and selected the following five finalists:
- Vancouver artist and writer David A. Neel for his memoir The Way Home;
- Vancouver Island poet Lorna Crozier was also chosen for her memoir Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats) (McClelland and Stewart);
- writer and poet Steven Heighton, based in Kingston, Ontario, was selected for Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos (Biblioasis);
- Jessica J. Lee, who is originally from London, Ontario, and now lives in the U.K., for Two Trees Make a Forest: Travels Among Taiwan’s Mountains and Coasts in Search of My Family’s Past (Hamish Hamilton Canada);
- Tessa McWatt, a Guyanese-born Canadian novelist in London, U.K., was included for Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging (Random House Canada).
The jury named Jessica J. Lee for for Two Trees Make a Forest: Travels Among Taiwan’s Mountains and Coasts in Search of My Family’s Past as the winner. In this memoir, Lee recounts her journey to her ancestral homeland of Taiwan where she examines how familial narratives and geographic history are interlinked.
Lee receives $50,000, while each of the finalists will receive $5,000.
The Writers’ Trust of Canada had previously revealed the five finalists for the 2020 Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize on October 7.
The jury—consisting of writers Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Waubgeshig Rice, and Yasuko Thanh—selected the finalists from 123 titles submitted by 61 publishers:
- Vancouver author Zsuzsi Gartner for her debut novel The Beguiling;
- Michelle Good of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation (in Saskatchewan), who lives in Southern B.C., for Five Little Indians (Harper Perennial);
- Maria Reva, who was raised in Vancouver and now lives in Austin, Texas, for her debut short story collection Good Citizens Need Not Fear (Knopf Canada);
- Toronto-based Gil Adamson for Ridgerunner (House of Anansi Press);
- Thomas King of Guelph, Ontario, for Indians on Vacation (HarperCollins).
The jury chose Toronto-based Gil Adamson for Ridgerunner as the winner of the prize. Ridgerunner, the sequel to Adamson's debut 2007 novel The Outlander, is set in the Canadian Rockies in 1917 and follows a thief’s attempt to steal money for his 12-year-old son’s future.
Adamson receives $60,000, and each of the finalists will receive $5,000.