Seven writers will be honoured at the Writers’ Trust Awards in Toronto. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Writers’ Trust to hand out total $260,000 in prizes for literary excellence

TORONTO — Seven of Canada’s top literary minds are set to be honoured this evening at the Writers’ Trust Awards, which will dole out more than $260,000 in prizes at a ceremony in downtown Toronto.

Hundreds are expected to gather for the event at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio to be hosted by Canadian poet, novelist and TV writer Zoe Whittall.

Awards will be presented for excellence across fiction, nonfiction, short stories and literature for young readers, recognizing last year’s best reads and literary achievements over a body of work.

The five-book short list for the $50,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize includes awards circuit veterans like Victoria-based author Esi Edugyan for ”Washington Black” (Patrick Crean Editions), which is also up for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Montreal-based Rawi Hage’s “Beirut Hellfire Society” (Knopf Canada).

Also in the running are St. Catharines, Ont.-raised Craig Davidson for “The Saturday Night Ghost Club” (Knopf Canada), Vancouver’s Jen Neale for “Land Mammals and Sea Creatures” (ECW Press) and British-Canadian author Kathy Page with “Dear Evelyn” (Biblioasis).

Finalists for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction include Ottawa-based author Elizabeth Hay for “All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir” (McClelland & Stewart).

Making the cut with their debut memoirs are Terese Marie Mailhot of Seabird Island, B.C., for “Heart Berries” (Doubleday Canada), and Vancouver’s Lindsay Wong for “The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family” (Arsenal Pulp Press).

Two Montreal-based writers round out the short list with Will Aitken’s ”Antigone Undone: Juliette Binoche, Anne Carson, Ivo Van Hove, and the Art of Resistance” (University of Regina Press) and investigative journalist Judi Rever’s ”In Praise of Blood: The Crimes of the Rwandan Patriotic Front” (Random House Canada).

One of three contenders for the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, which honours the best short story published by an emerging writer in a Canadian literary magazine, will take home $10,000, and the journal that published the winning entry will receive $2,000.

Four honourees will receive $25,000 prizes for contributions to Canadian literature over their careers, recognizing an author with a lifetime of distinguished work, a poet and a fiction writer with a proven record of literary excellence and bright futures ahead, and a creative mind who sparks young readers’ imaginations.

The four finalists for the fiction and non-fiction prizes will each receive $5,000, while the two runners-up for the short story award will each take home $1,000.

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