This morning in Toronto jurors Stevie Cameron and Susan Renouf announced the short list of one of the most prized literary awards in Canada.
Noreen Taylor, the widow of Charles Taylor and founder of the Charles Taylor Prize, smiled as she looked at the podium before today's event began saying that she is always nervous before the announcement for the books to be announced. Each year the jurors have the difficult task of deciding first the long list and then the short list. Being on either list is an achievement that authors dream of.
Beginning in June the jurors, authors Allan M. Brandt and Stevie Cameron and non-fiction publishing consultant Susan Renouf, were sent shipments of books to review. The books are sent two boxes at a time as not to overwhelm the jurors, who send almost every waking non-working moment with a book in hand until each of the literary treasures have been read cover to cover.
To get on the long list is "manna from heaven," said Cameron as she discussed the process of selecting that list. She should know, her book On The Farm was on last year's short list.
The prize brings with it a chance to showcase the work of an author with a fervor that isn't often associated with non-fiction literature. Last year's winner Charles Foran (Mordecai: The Life & Times, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada) is about to begin his fourth book tour.
This year the Charles Taylor Prize has RBC Wealth Management as the Presenting Sponsor along with CBC Books being the latest media partner joining The Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire magazine.
The short list for the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize is:
Wade Davis, author of Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada;
Charlotte Gill, author of Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe, published by Greystone Books;
JJ Lee, author of The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, published by McClelland & Stewart;
Madeline Sonik, author of Afflictions & Departures: Essays, published by Anvil Press;
Andrew Westoll, author of The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery, published by HarperCollins Publishers.
The prize will be awarded on March 5, 2012 in Toronto.