TORONTO, Oct. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - The Writers' Trust of Canada announced
tonight that Graeme Smith has won the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction for The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan, published by Knopf Canada. The prize is the richest annual literary
award for a book of nonfiction published in Canada.
The prize was awarded by the Honorable Hilary M. Weston in Toronto's Art
Gallery of Ontario at a salon-style gathering of more than 200 members
of the literary, philanthropic, and visual arts communities. Renowned
Canadian performers enlivened the evening with dramatic readings of the
nominated titles. These special guest actors were Ella Ballentine, Sid
Bobb, Kevin Bundy, David Ferry, and Karen Robinson. The event was
hosted by Shelagh Rogers, broadcast journalist and host of CBC Radio
One's The Next Chapter. Along with the $60,000 prize, Smith received a sculpture created by
crystal artist Mark Raynes Roberts.
Prize finalists were selected by a jury composed of novelist and
cultural critic Hal Niedzviecki; writer and last year's prize winner
Candace Savage; and writer and creative nonfiction writing instructor
Andreas Schroeder. In selecting the winner they were joined by founder
and executive director of War Child Canada Samantha Nutt and CBC
broadcast journalist Evan Solomon. Their citation reads:
When Graeme Smith travelled to the war in Afghanistan as a young and
idealistic journalist in 2005, he fully believed that the international
community could "bring the whole basket of civilization to Afghanistan:
peace, democracy, the rule of law." The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is his painfully detailed, eyebrow-raising account of what he saw
during his six years of reporting on that effort for the Globe and Mail: a tragic mix of cultural ignorance, miscommunication, greed,
brutality, and political naiveté that no amount of individual courage
and dedication could ultimately overcome. A graphic but determinedly
even-handed memoir that does much to counter the reams of official spin
this topic has endured over the years.
Graeme Smith covered the Afghan war for the Globe and Mail from 2005 to 2009. He has also been a correspondent for the paper based
in Istanbul, Delhi, and Moscow. For his investigative reporting Smith
has received numerous awards, including three National Newspaper
Awards, the Amnesty International Award, the Michener Award, and, for
his multimedia series "Talking to the Taliban," an Emmy Award.
Currently based in Kabul, Smith is a senior analyst for the
International Crisis Group, which offers non-partisan analysis and
advice to governments and intergovernmental bodies on the prevention
and resolution of deadly conflict.
Four finalists for this year's prize received $5,000 each:
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)
Andrew Steinmetz for This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla (Biblioasis)
Priscila Uppal for Projection: Encounters with my Runaway Mother (Dundurn Press)
"It is a tremendous honour to showcase these five extraordinary writers
and their powerful stories," said Mrs. Weston. "The exceptional quality
and range on show by this country's nonfiction writers is recognized
internationally and we remain delighted that the prize has helped raise
the profile of such remarkable practitioners of the craft."
The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize is grateful to Loblaw Companies
Limited for making the five prize finalists titles available in select
Loblaw banner stores nationwide. A list of Loblaw banner stores across
Canada is available at http://loblawstores.ca/LCLOnline/.
Additional support for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize is
provided by media partner CBC Books.
For more information on this year's finalists and to download
high-resolution images of the nominated authors and their books, visit writerstrust.com.
About Mrs. Hilary M. Weston, CM, OOnt
Mrs. 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. She is a
trustee of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle and serves on the
board of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mrs. Weston is also a corporate
director of Wittington Investments and Selfridges Group Ltd. She has
also 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, was
appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2003, and is the recipient
of six honorary degrees.
About the Prize
The prize is awarded for literary excellence in the category of
nonfiction, which includes, among other forms, personal or journalistic
essays, history, biography, memoirs, commentary, and criticism, both
social and political. Finalist works will, in the opinion of the jury,
demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling
command of tone, narrative, style, and technique. This award succeeds
the Writers' Trust Nonfiction Prize, which was established in 1997.
About the Writers' Trust
The Writers' Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to
advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a
portfolio of programs, including literary awards, financial grants,
scholarships, and a writers' retreat. Writers' Trust programming is
designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the
status of writers, and to create connections between writers and
readers. Canada's writers receive more financial support from the
Writers' Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or
foundation in the country.
Image with caption: "Graeme Smith, winner of the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction for his book The Dogs Are Eating Them Now, accepts the prize from Hon. Hilary M. Weston in Toronto (CNW Group/The Writers' Trust of Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20131021_C5694_PHOTO_EN_32361.jpg
SOURCE: The Writers' Trust of Canada
For further information:
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