The $25,000 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction was awarded to Andrew Westoll for his book The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery at a ceremony in Toronto this afternoon. The book follows Westoll’s experience with 13 chimps that have been “retired” from biomedical research. The jury citation for Westoll’s book reads in part:
Westoll deftly draws the reader into the wild day-to-day ride of life with the Fauna chimps and soon their otherness falls away. Through his lens, the chimps are revealed as the individuals they are, with all their foibles, damage, and possibility “ and the reader’s world view shifts on its axis. Heartrending and heart-warming, this is a stunning and important work of art and documentary and science.
A tweet from CBC Books indicates that Westoll thanked his wife and dedicated his award to the chimps.
The other shortlisted titles, culled from a longlist of 11 books, were:
- Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest by Wade Davis (Knopf Canada)
- Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe by Charlotte Gill (Greystone Books)
- The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit by J.J. Lee (McClelland & Stewart)
- Afflictions and Departures: Essays by Madeline Sonik (Anvil Press)
This year’s jury consisted of Harvard University dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Allan M. Brandt; investigative journalist (and former Charles Taylor nominee) Stevie Cameron; and editor Susan Renouf. The runners-up each receive $2,000.
You can listen to Q&Q podcasts featuring Westoll and Gill, and watch for more coverage later today on Q&Q Omni.