Andrew Westoll wins the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize!
Today at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, jurors Susan Renouf and Stevie Cameron handed over the envelope containing the name of the winner of the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Said Renouf: "This was the hardest decision we have ever had to make in our lives ... we were still deliberating this morning!" Juror Allan M. Brandt was unable to attend.
Governor General David Johnston also spoke at the ceremony, reaffirming his lifelong commitment to books and literature and congratulating the nominees on their achievements.
The prize, announced by Noreen Taylor, Chairman of the Charles Taylor Foundation and founder of the prize, was awarded to Andrew Westoll for his book The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery (HarperCollins Canada).
Visibly surprised, Westoll took the stage amidst a standing ovation and thanked his wife and parents as well as Gloria Grow, who founded and ran the titular chimp sanctuary. He also thanked the chimps themselves each by name, underscoring the deep personal connections forged during his stay at Fauna.
The four additional finalists — Wade Davis, Charlotte Gill, JJ Lee and Madeline Sonik — were praised by the jury for their incredible books. Each finalist receives a $2,000 honorarium to acknowledge their accomplishments.
Be sure to check out Open Book's interview series with all five nominees.