Andrew Westoll took Creative Writing at UBC before moving to Toronto. [See below]
2012 Charles Taylor Prize
Press Release (2012)
Andrew Westoll Wins The 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction
The winner of The 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is Andrew Westoll (Toronto, ON) for his book The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery.
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.”
Andrew Westoll’s winning book, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery, was also nominated for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. He is an award-winning narrative journalist and internationally published author. A former biologist and primatologist, his first book, The Riverbones, is a travel memoir set in the jungles of Suriname, where he once lived as a monkey researcher. He took creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Andrew lives in Toronto with his wife, and continues to write while working at the University of Toronto.
The $25,000 prize was awarded to Andrew Westoll on Monday, March 5th during a gala luncheon, hosted by CBC’s Mary Ito, and held in the historic Sovereign Ballroom of downtown Toronto’s Le Meridien King Edward Hotel. The remaining finalists — Wade Davis, Charlotte Gill, JJ Lee, and Madeline Sonik — each received $2,000.
RBC Wealth Management, presenting sponsor of the prize, will host Andrew Westoll in select cities across Canada to speak about his winning book. Authors at Harbourfront Centre will feature Andrew Westoll at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) in October.
The jurors for The 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction are authors Allan M. Brandt (Cambridge, MA, USA) and Stevie Cameron (Toronto, Canada), and publishing consultant Susan Renouf (Toronto, Canada). They selected The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery from their shortlist of five books, which they in turn selected from their longlist of eleven books. All three jurors each read 115 books, submitted by 35 publishers from around the world. Books in the genre of literary non-fiction, published between November 1, 2010 and October 21, 2011, were eligible for submission if authored by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and widely available for purchase in Canada.
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are Michael Bradley (Toronto), Judith Mappin (Montréal), David Staines (Ottawa), and Noreen Taylor (Toronto). When asked about the jury’s selection, Noreen Taylor, founder of the prize, said: “This year’s jury had an exceptionally difficult task, for each of the five finalists presented unique strengths and approaches to their material. Andrew Westoll has the rare capacity to make all of his subjects engaging and memorable. Once introduced to his characters, their stories stay with you, leaving you to hope that he writes a sequel.”
This is the eleventh awarding of the prestigious Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, which recognizes excellence in Canadian non-fiction writing and emphasizes the development of the careers of the authors it celebrates. Since its inception, the prize has engaged Canadians in the genre of literary non-fiction and boosted sales of the winning authors’ books. Founded in commemoration of the late Charles Taylor, one of Canada’s foremost essayists and a prominent member of the Canadian literary community, the prize is awarded annually to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception.
The presenting sponsor of The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is RBC Wealth Management. “Congratulations to Andrew Westoll for winning the prestigious Charles Taylor Prize for 2012,” said George Lewis, Group Head, RBC Wealth Management, presenting sponsor of the prize. “The work of all five finalists are impressive examples of literary excellence and demonstrate Canada's talent on the world stage. It is this excellence that RBC Wealth Management applauds and is proud to support.”
The Major sponsor of The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is Windfields Farm. Its exclusive newspaper sponsor is The Globe and Mail; its media sponsors are CBC Books, CNW Group, The Huffington Post Canada, Maclean’s magazine, and Quill & Quire magazine; and its In-Kind sponsors are Authors at Harbourfront Centre, Ben McNally Books, Event Source, Indigo Books and Music, Kobo Inc., Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, and The Toronto Review of Books.