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Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Awards

Read Alberta would like to congratulate the finalists for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction: Ken Haigh, Ian Williams, Darrel J. McLeod, Jordan Abel, and Tomson Hightway.

We would also like to congratulate University of Alberta Press. Their book, On Foot to Canterbury: A Son’s Pilgrimage (Ken Haigh) is one the finalists. The jury (consisting of Kevin Chong, Terese Marie Mailhot, and Adam Shoalts) said that On Foot to Canterbury  “is a beautifully written and eloquent story that skillfully weaves historical anecdotes into a journey through rural England, leaving the reader with practical, sage advice on how to deal with loss and depression, but most of all, on how to live. Haigh’s eye to detail is a delight to read, as are his frequent musings on landscape and history. This subtle, moving story stays with you long after the book is finished.”

The Alberta connection to the finalist list is strong. Ian Williams’ book, Disorientation: Being Black in the World (Random House Canada) is described, by the jury, as “a formally inventive and searing meditation on race and Blackness.” Williams served as the 2014-15 Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary, and had two books published by Calgary-based publisher Freehand Books: Personals, which was shortlisted for both the Griffin Prize and a ReLit Award; and Not Anyone’s Anything, an innovative book of short stories.

The Hilary Weston shortlist also includes Alberta author Darrel J. McLeod’s memoir, Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity (Douglas & McIntyre), the sequel to Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age. Earlier in 2021, Read Alberta posted an interview with McLeod about this book, where he describes it: Peyakow “loops back in time to the real beginning of the disruption and destruction of the world my extended family and ancestors had enjoyed since time immemorial. This is the true beginning of the story I sought to tell the world. It’s an important piece of the puzzle, since this history has not been taught in schools. Peyakow continues to recount the impacts of the brutal and rapid colonization of the Nehiyaw/Cree people in northern Alberta and on my family.”

The other books on the shortlist are Nishga, by Jordan Abel, and Permanent Astonishment: A Memoir by Tomson Highway.

The Hilary Weston Award 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. This year, the jury composed of Canadian writers Kevin Chong, Terese Marie Mailhot, and Adam Shoalts considered 107 titles submitted by 64 publishers before deciding on a shortlist of five. The winner of the 2021 award will be announced on November 3, 2021.

2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Award Shortlist
On Foot to Canterbury: A Son’s Pilgrimage

Ken Haigh (CA)

Published: Sep 16, 2021 by University of Alberta Press
ISBN: 9781772125450
Disorientation: Being Black in the World

Ian Williams (CA)

Published: Sep 21, 2021 by Random House of Canada
ISBN: 9781039000223
Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, A Memoir

Darrel J. McLeod (CA)

Published: Mar 20, 2021 by Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.
ISBN: 9781771622318

Jordan Abel (CA)

Published: May 18, 2021 by McClelland & Stewart
ISBN: 9780771007903
Permanent Astonishment: Growing Up Cree in the Land of Snow and Sky

Tomson Highway (CA)

Published: Sep 28, 2021 by Doubleday Canada
ISBN: 9780385696203
Other Books Mentioned

Ian Williams (CA)

Published: Apr 01, 2012 by Freehand Books
ISBN: 9781554811045
Not Anyone’s Anything

Ian Williams (CA)

Published: Apr 01, 2011 by Freehand Books
ISBN: 9781551119953
Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age

Darrel J. McLeod (CA)

Published: Sep 15, 2018 by Douglas and McIntyre (2013) Ltd.
ISBN: 9781771622004