Canada Reads Winner Joshua Whitehead Among Finalists for $60,000 Weston Prize for Best Canadian Nonfiction

Oji-nêhiyaw writer Joshua Whitehead, whose novel jonny apple seed won canada reads 2021, is winning more praise. This time, his non-fiction work make love to the earth is one of five books shortlisted for the 2022 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

The $60,000 prize annually recognizes the best non-fiction book in Canada. It is the largest nonfiction award in the country.

make love to the earth is a collection of essays exploring indigeneity, queerness, and the relationships between body, language, and land.

make love to the earth it is one of two indigenous titles on the short list. the other is nothing will be differenta memoir by Mi’kmaw artist and writer Tara McGowan-Ross.

The finalists are completed by journalist Geoff Dembicki’s look at the oil industry, oil papers; Professor Debra Thompson’s look at Black culture and identity in North America, The long way home; and Dan Werb’s exploration of the history and future of coronavirus pandemics, the unseen siege.

The Weston Prize jury is made up of Canadian writers Mark Bourrie, Cheryl Foggo and Jessica McDiarmid. They selected the finalists and will select the eventual winner from among 103 titles submitted by publishers.

“This year’s shortlist is a timely and accurate representation of the issues that have likely crossed, and in some cases dominated, our thinking in recent years,” Charlie Foran, executive director of the Writers’ Trust, said in a statement. “If we’re ever looking for books that speak to our circumstances, both shared and unique, this shortlist gives us exactly that. Congratulations to all the finalists.”

The winner will be announced on November 2, 2022 at a ceremony in Toronto.

Each remaining finalist will receive $5,000.

Writers’ Trust of Canada is an organization that supports Canadian writers through literary awards, scholarships, financial grants, mentorships and more.

It also awards seven awards in recognition of the year’s best in fiction, nonfiction, and short stories, as well as midcareer and lifetime achievement awards.

the shortlisted for the 2022 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize it was announced on September 14, 2022.

The Writers’ Trust has awarded a nonfiction prize since 1997. Hilary Weston has sponsored the prize since 2011.

Last year’s winner was Tomson Highway for his memoirs Permanent Amazement.

Other past winners include Brian Brett, Elizabeth Hay, Rosemary Sullivan, Naomi Klein, Jessica J. Lee and John Vaillant.

Meet the 2022 finalists below.

The Petroleum Papers is a nonfiction book by Geoff Dembicki. (Greystone Books, presented by the Writers’ Trust of Canada)

In oil papers, climate journalist Geoff Dembicki discusses the history of the oil and tar sands industry in Alberta. Oil executives were told in 1959 that burning fossil fuels would cause global warming, yet the industry grew substantially in the decades that followed. oil papers looks at why the world’s largest oil companies continue to grow and shares the story of the people who are fighting back.

“Geoff Dembicki shows us how the oil industry has known about climate risks for more than 60 years,” said the jury. “Basing his arguments on sound research and using clear, accessible prose, Dembicki explains the players and the game. What is at stake is the planet itself.”

Geoff Dembicki is a climate change reporter from Alberta who now lives in New York. He is also the author of the non-fiction work Are we screwed?which won the 2018 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature.

Nothing Will Be Different is a book by Tara McGowan-Ross. (Dundurn Press)

Tara McGowan-Ross has a good job, a writing career, and an understanding boyfriend. She has it pretty good. She should be happy. However, she can’t stay sober and is terrible at monogamy. In the fall, after her 27th birthday, an abnormal lump discovered in her left breast becomes the catalyst for a journey of self-questioning. She shares this story in her memoir. nothing will be different.

“Tara McGowan-Ross unravels history and present in raw, unflinching prose that is at once funny, heartbreaking and lyrical,” the jury commented. “A coming-of-age musing that is searing in its honesty, energy and depth, McGowan-Ross tackles tough topics like death, loss, addiction and grief with irony, wit and depth.”

McGowan-Ross is a Mi’kmaw urban artist and writer. she is the author of Circumference Y scorpion season and the host of the Drawn & Quarterly Indian Literature Book Club. She is also a Montreal freelance experimental theater critic and editor of Insomniac Press.

The Long Road Home is a nonfiction book by Debra Thompson. (Simon & Schuster, Roshayne Alannah Morrison)

The long way home it’s a researched look at topics like belonging and family history. The book explores black cultural identity and activism in places like Boston, Chicago, and Shrewsbury, Ontario, one of the termini of the Underground Railroad and the place where former slaves, including his grandfather’s grandfather, Cornelius Thompson, found freedom.

“Through direct and evocative prose, Debra Thompson deftly guides the reader into a rare perspective on the world of life for black Canadians and Americans,” the jury said. “Enchantingly personal and sharply political, The long way home illuminates how the experience of blackness cannot be explained by drawing a line at the 49th parallel.”

Thompson is a Canadian associate professor of political science at McGill University in Montreal, and one of only five black women scholars in a political science department in the country. She is also the Canada Research Chair in Racial Inequality in Democratic Societies and a leading scholar of the comparative politics of race.

the sunday magazine22:54How anti-black racism operates in Canada and how to counter it

When it comes to anti-Black racism, it’s easy to point out the obvious. Empires and oppressors. Slavery and segregation. But political scientist Debra Thompson says we must leave room for nuance. Especially when we talk about racism in Canada. In her new book, The Long Road Home: On Blackness and Belonging, Thompson weaves her political science scholarship with a personal narrative to have an honest conversation with Chattopadhyay about how race and anti-Black racism operate in Canada. and the US

The Invisible Siege is a non-fiction book by Dan Werb. (Corona, presented by Writers’ Trust of Canada)

The invisible siege: the rise of coronaviruses and the search for a cure traces the surprisingly long history of the virus family and the scientists who fought it, as well as the lessons learned and lost during the SARS and MERS outbreaks. Journalist Dan Werb argues that there is no doubt that coronaviruses will strike again and that understanding them is the best way to be prepared.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been the most disruptive event in world history since World War II,” the jury said. “Dan Werb tells us how we got here through an authoritative scientific explanation of coronaviruses. the unseen siege It’s a scientific detective story that leaves the reader scared that the villain is still on the loose and maybe in the house.”

Werb is an epidemiologist, policy analyst, and writer currently based in Toronto. He is also the author of the non-fiction work city ​​of omens.

the sunday magazine20:53Lessons learned from underestimating coronaviruses throughout history

Canadian epidemiologist Dan Werb says humanity has a long history of underestimating coronaviruses. He joins Piya Chattopadhyay to talk about his new book The Invisible Siege: The Rise of Coronaviruses and the Search for a Cure. The book traces the surprisingly long history of the virus family and the scientists who fought it, as well as the lessons learned and lost during the SARS and MERS outbreaks. Werb says there is no doubt that coronaviruses will strike again, and understanding them is the best way to be prepared.

Making Love to the Earth is a book by Joshua Whitehead. (Knopf Canada)

make love to the earth is a personal work of nonfiction by Joshua Whitehead that employs a variety of genres (essay, memoir, notes, and confession) to explore queerness, indigeneity, and community work, as well as mental and physical health.

“Rejecting the demands of categorization, Whitehead’s beautiful book is at once striking, engaging and challenging,” the jury said. “He writes with fluency in the English language, while acknowledging the complexity of creating and living in a language is not always enough.”

Whitehead is a two-spirited scholar, Oji-nêhiyaw Indigiqueer, poet, non-fiction writer, and novelist from the Peguis First Nation. the debut of him noel jonny apple seedI was Shortlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Awardshortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award and won a Lambda Literary Award for Gay Fiction. also won canada reads 2021, when it was championed by actor Devery Jacobs.

the sunday magazine24:53Joshua Whitehead wants us to reconsider how we talk to artists about trauma

When Joshua Whitehead was writing his first novel, Jonny Appleseed, he had a small queer indigenous audience in mind. But the book became a bestseller, picking up literary awards and winning CBC’s Canada Reads. Now, Whitehead says it’s time for readers, journalists and scholars to start rethinking how we question indigenous authors about his work. In his new collection of nonfiction essays, Making Love with the Land, the two-spirited Oji-Cree storyteller from Peguis First Nation in Manitoba addresses all the uncomfortable and hurtful questions he was asked in the wake of Jonny Appleseed. He joins Elamin Abdelmahmoud in advocating for a more supportive and respectful approach to storytelling and sharing.

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