Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction Nominees

Antigone UndoneAntigone Undone

By Will Aitken

Novelist Aiken travelled to Luxembourg in 2015 to experience the rehearsals and premiere of Anne Carson’s translation of Sophokles’ 5th century BCE tragedy Antigone. The artful production of this  timeless protest against injustice resonated with him so powerfully that he barely survived its emotional shockwaves. It provides an intimate backstage view of the creative process at work amongst the principal players as well as documenting the response to the play by Hegel, Virginia Woolf, Judith Butler and others who were also profoundly moved by this exploration of absolute power, resistance, and the life and death struggle for truth and justice.

 

Heart BerriesHeart Berries

By Terese Marie Mailhot

This electrically charged memoir exploring growng up on the Seabird  Island Indian Reservation in British Columbia takes the form of a notebook Mailhot wrote after being hospitalized for the double diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar II. Both a memorial to her social worker and activist mother and a reconciliation with her father who was murdered under mysterious circumstances, her true voice develops as she writes and reestablishes her connection to her family, her people and her place in the world.

 

All Things ConsoledAll Things Consoled

By Elizabeth Hay

A previous Giller winner for Late Nights on Air, Hay’s latest work is a moving family memoir detailing the lives of her formidable parents, herself and her siblings as they transit through their overlapping orbits. While Elizabeth got the “difficult” and “selfish“ label growing up, she always had a sense, that she would be the one who was going to end up looking after her parents in their final years. Sure enough, this feeling was borne out. As her very independent parents became more dependent upon her, Elizabeth charts the family’s shifting dynamics, sibling rivalries, miscommunications, simmering resentments and family upheavals – all underlain by love and devotion to her larger- than- life parents.

 

In Praise of BloodIn Praise of Blood

By Judi Rever

Many Canadians came to know the horrors of the Rwandan genocide through Romeo Dallaire’s Shake Hands With the Devil. In this new book, Canadian journalist Rever puts her own life in danger investigating the complete story of the genocide. Using new interviews with Rawandan Popular Front defectors, former soldiers, atrocity survivors and  leaked UN court documents, she reveals that  far from being the saviours who ended the Hutu slaughter of innocent Tutsis, Paul Kagame and his rebel forces were just as murderous as the Hutu genocidiare and in fact shot down the Presidential plane that sparked the genocidal conflagration. Post-genocide, they successfully rallied world guilt and attracted funds to rebuild Rwanda while maintaining and extending Tutsi influence in the region.

 

The Woo WooThe Woo-Woo

By Lindsay Wong

Sub-titled: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons and My Crazy Chinese Family, this darkly comedic memoir of a young woman growing up in a shockingly dysfunctional family, highlights how dangerous untreated mental illness can be. Lindsay grew up with a paranoid schzophrenic grandmother and a mother who was constantly afraid of the “woo-woo”, Chinese ghosts who drop by in times of personal turmoil.The harrowing escapades she and her mother endure in avoiding these ghosts come to affect her own mental health. While not a survival guide approved by Health Canada, it dramaticaly shows how people devise their own methods of dealing with mental illness in the absence of community mental health supports.

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