With the decision going down to the wire, the jurors of The Charles Taylor Prize awarded the 2012 Award for Best Canadian Non-Fiction Book to Andrew Westoll for The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary Monday in Toronto at the King Edward Hotel.
The awards ceremony was attended by the top players in the literary world. One special attendee was the Governor General David Johnston who is known to his family as Grandpa Book. Johnston said that he has read one of the shortlisted books so far this year, Wade Davis' Into The Silence and looks forward to tackling the others this year.
When it came time to announce this year's winner the jurors admitted that the final decision was made just this morning. Torontorian Andrew Westoll's The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery is the inspiring story of Gloria Grow and her partner Richard's making a final home for chimps who endured years as lab subjects. Their story tucks at the heart as they learn to have trust in a world that treated them horribly all in the name of science.
Andrew Westoll is the winner of the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize
Of the book, the jury said: "Brilliantly blending science and storytelling, primatologist and author Andrew Westoll takes us deep into the world of the haunted and haunting rescued research chimps of Fauna Sanctuary. Pulled from decades of horrific lab conditions, rescued chimps live out the balance of their long lives in sanctuaries such as Fauna, cared for and loved by an extraordinary group of people. 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. Heart-rending and heart-warming, this is a stunning and important work of art and documentary and science."
The Charles Taylor Prize is in honour of the late Charles Taylor, a prominent member of Canadian authors who demanded the best of himself and of others. His widow, Noreen Taylor founded the prize eleven years ago. Since that time it has become one of the most coveted Canadian literary awards.