Terese Marie Mailhot, Elizabeth Hay among finalists for $60K Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

Books by Will Aitken, Lindsay Wong and Judi Rever round out the shortlist for the richest award for Canadian nonfiction.
Terese Marie Mailhot and Elizabeth Hay are two of the finalists for the 2018 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction. (Mark Fried/Isiah Mailhot)

Terese Marie Mailhot and Elizabeth Hay are among the five 2018 finalists for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, one of the biggest prizes in Canada for nonfiction.

The other finalists are Will Aitken for Antigone Undone, Judi Rever for In Praise of Blood and Lindsay Wong for The Woo-Woo

The 2018 finalists were chosen by jury members Michael Harris, Donna Bailey Nurse and Joel Yanofsky out of 107 titles submitted by 58 different publishers.

The winner will be announced at the Writers' Trust awards gala on Nov. 7, 2018. 

Last year's winner was James Maskalyk for his memoir about spending time in emergency rooms as a medical doctor, Life on the Ground Floor.

Get to know the 2018 finalists below.

Antigone Undone by Will Aitken

Will Aitken is the Montreal-based author of Antigone Undone. (Gerald L'Ecuyer/University of Regina Press)

In 2015, Montreal-based author Will Aitken journeyed to Luxembourg for the rehearsals and premiere of Anne Carson's translation of Sophokles' 5th-century BCE tragedy Antigone, starring Juliette Binoche and directed by theatrical sensation Ivo van Hove. Antigone Undone is a blend of personal memoir and interview-based journalism.

All Things Consoled by Elizabeth Hay 

All Things Consoled is a memoir by Elizabeth Hay. (Mark Fried, McClelland & Stewart)

In All Things Consoled, award-winning novelist Elizabeth Hay turns to nonfiction. Her mother was a financially prudent artist and her father was a schoolteacher with an short fuse, and she had a challenging relationship with both growing up. As Hay shifts from eldest daughter to primary caregiver, old resentments rise to the surface, eventually giving way to greater understanding.

Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot

Terese Marie Mailhot is a writer from Seabird Island, B.C. (Penguin Random House Canada/Isiah Mailhot)

Heart Berries is a moving memoir about a woman's coming of age on the Seabird Island reserve in British Columbia. Mailhot has a difficult childhood, growing up with an activist mother and an abusive and alcoholic father, before being accepted to the Masters of Fine Art program at Institute of American Indian Arts in New Mexico. Her own story continues as she comes to terms with her own mental illness and commits herself to a psychiatric institution.

In Praise of Blood by Judi Rever 

Judi Rever's book In Praise of Blood challenges the dominant narrative about the Rwandan genocide and the role of now-President Paul Kagame. (Random House Canada)

Judy Rever is an investigative journalist who has covered the Rwandan genocide for decades. In her book In Praise of Blood, she chronicles the complete history of the 1994 genocide. Combining her own journalistic experience with interviews with former soldiers and survivors and through exploring supporting documents from institutions like the UN. Rever makes a compelling and chilling argument that the killing in Rwanda was more complex than originally reported.

The Woo-Woo by Lindsay Wong 

The Woo-Woo is a memoir by Lindsay Wong. (Shimon/Arsenal Pulp Press)

This dark, witty and touching memoir by Vancouver-based writer Lindsay Wong takes a look at the impact of mental illness on families. Wong delivers an honest and emotional look at whispered secrets, dysfunctional relationships — and how her grandmother, mother, aunt and even herself initially blamed the mythical "woo-woo," Chinese spirits that plague the living, for their mental health issues. The memoir is equal parts blunt, honest and hilarious.


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