Naomi Klein wins 2014 Hilary Weston Prize


Canadian activist and author Naomi Klein has won the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction for her "groundbreaking" book about climate change This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.

Klein was revealed as this year's winner of the annual literary prize at an event in Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario on Tuesday evening. The prize is the most lucrative literary award for a nonfiction book published in Canada.

When her name was called, an emotional Klein took to the stage. She praised the other "wonderful" books on the shortlist and said her win was not "supposed to happen." Still, she has been encouraged by the reception to her book and believes "there is a deep desire for change in this country."

In a post-ceremony interview with CBC Books, Klein said that winning the prestigious Hilary Weston Prize may help her book reach different audiences.

"Maybe even people who disagree with my politics might engage with it ... For me, I want the book to stimulate debate, I don't just want the book to entrench people's positions," she said. "I think we really need to air this out."

The jury, which included past Hilary Weston Prize winner Charles Foran, writers Priscila Uppal, Merrily Weisbord, CBC News' Peter Mansbridge, and filmmaker Deepa Mehta, lauded Klein's book for its "fresh insights" into the climate crisis.

"[Her] urgency and outrage is balanced by meticulous documentation and passionate argument," the jury said in its citation. "Heart and mind go hand in hand in this magisterial response to a present crisis."

The 44-year-old author became a prominent Canadian figure shortly after the publication of her bestselling and highly influential counter-globalization book No Logo in 1999. Another of her other major nonfiction works is The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007), which examines the strategy of political leaders exploiting times of emergency or upheaval to push through unpopular or controversial free-market policies.

The other finalists, who will each receive $5,000, were:

One of the gala's highlights was McMaster University student Ashley Ash reading her essay 'No One's Girl' during a special segment. Ash, a recent high school graduate, won the inaugural Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Student Nonfiction Writing Contest, which earned her $2,500, and her former high school, Vaughan Road Academy, an additional $1,000. You can listen to her read the essay, which chronicles her painful journey as an abandoned child before being adopted, on CBC Radio's As It Happens.

Naomi Klein wins Hilary Weston Prize on CBC News:

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Naomi Klein on The National:

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Naomi Klein on The Sunday Edition:

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Naomi Klein on As It Happens:

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