Gil Adamson, Jessica J. Lee win Writers’ Trust literary prizes

The authors have won top honours from one of Canada's most prestigious literary awards


Gil Adamson and Jessica J. Lee have won prestigious Writers’ Trust of Canada literary prizes.

Toronto-based Adamson, won the $50,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust award for fiction, and Lee won the $60,000 Hilary Weston non-fiction prize.

The winners were announced November 18 at a virtual ceremony hosted by writer Kamal Al-Solaylee in Toronto, as part of the Writers’ Trust: Books of the Year Edition.

Adamson’s novel Ridgerunner (House of Anansi Press) is the the sequel to her 2007 debut The Outlander. It’s set in the Canadian Rockies in 1917 and follows a thief’s attempt to steal money for his 12-year-old son’s future.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada had previously revealed the five finalists for the fiction award on October 7.

Jurors Elisabeth de Mariaffi, Waubgeshig Rice, and Yasuko Thanh selected the finalists from 123 titles submitted by 61 publishers. The four finalists are:

  • Vancouver author Zsuzsi Gartner for her debut novel The Beguiling;
  • Michelle Good of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation (in Saskatchewan), who lives in Southern B.C., for Five Little Indians (Harper Perennial);
  • Maria Reva, who was raised in Vancouver and now lives in Austin, Texas, for her debut short story collection Good Citizens Need Not Fear (Knopf Canada);
  • Thomas King of Guelph, Ontario, for Indians on Vacation (HarperCollins).

Each of the finalists will receive $5,000.

Lee’s book Two Trees Make a Forest: Travels Among Taiwan’s Mountains And Coasts In Search Of My Family’s Past (Hamish Hamilton Canada) is a memoir that recounts the author’s journey to her ancestral homeland of Taiwan where she examines how familial narratives and geographic history are interlinked.

The finalists for the 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-fiction each receive $5,000.

They were announced by the Writers’ Trust of Canada on September 30. Jurors Helen Knott, Sandra Martin, and Ronald Wright read 107 titles. The four finalists are:

  • Vancouver artist and writer David A. Neel for his memoir The Way Home;
  • Vancouver Island poet Lorna Crozier was also chosen for her memoir Through the Garden: A Love Story (with Cats) (McClelland and Stewart);
  • Writer and poet Steven Heighton, based in Kingston, Ontario, was selected for Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos (Biblioasis); 
  • Tessa McWatt, a Guyanese-born Canadian novelist in London, U.K., was included for Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging (Random House Canada).

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight. 

 @cinecraig 

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