October 26, 2011

Top Ten Moments At the Hilary Weston Writers Trust Prize Gala

Ok, so I am just coming down from my first real taste of what I have heard much about but never actually experienced first-hand until Tuesday night… the upper echelons of Canada’s “Literati” at the inaugural Hilary Weston Writers Trust Prize for Nonfiction Gala at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto… four other Canadian authors and myself vying for the $60,000 prize, the largest nonfiction prize in Canada. I was a LONG way from Desolation Sound

Here are my Top Ten Moments from a night I’ll never forget:

10. Having my parents in attendance, who shared a cab in the pouring rain to the Gala with Lawrence Hill, author of Book of Negroes, much to their star-struck delight.

9. Trivia Fans! Did you know Hilary Weston is not only an extreme philanthropist but also owns Holt Renfrew?!?

8. Outrageous cocktail party snacks included gourmet, miniature grilled cheese sandwiches and tiny roast beef and yorkshire pudding, fish and chips, and wee cups of chocolate mousse.

7. The National‘s Amanda Lang, also seen on the Lang and O’Leary Exchange, bringing my still-star-struck parents up to the Westons/authors private reception before the Gala.

6. Seeing the Sunparlour PlayersAndrew Penner performing live music for the Gala, including his song “Hymns for the Happy” and covers of Gordon Lightfoot and Stan Rogers.

5. Meeting fellow BC nominee Charlotte Gill, author of Eating Dirt, who has gracefully managed to capture in poetic print the filthiest of careers: tree planting.

4. Spotting CBC luminaries in the rows behind us like Carol Off, Elenor Wachtel, and Linden Macintyre.

3. Seeing a list of my top 5 fave Canadian non-fiction books listed on the big screen in front of the entire crowd, including On A Cold Road by Dave Bidini, Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet, and Before the Fame/The Connors Tone by Stompin’ Tom Connors.

2. Hearing esteemed Toronto actor Joseph Ziegler read a story from Adventures in Solitude in which I puked on my mom.

1. The pin-drop silent moment before the winner was announced, as my Mom clutched my hand and squeezed hard… And then Hilary Weston announced Charles Foran and his book Mordecai as the winner.

Congratulations to Charles, and thanks to Hilary Weston and the Writers’ Trust for a phenomenal experience!

Next stop: the Kootenays this weekend…

(7) Comments

  1. matt says:

    Congrats on your short listing!!!

  2. pat mcphillips says:

    Well, making it there is quite an accomplishment, and something you and your family can always be proud of, win or not.

  3. Grant Lawrence says:

    Thanks Matty and Patty!

  4. Shonica says:

    Congratulations Grant! What a fantastic achievement I am looking forward to the next one!

  5. Grant Lawrence says:

    Thanks Shonny!

  6. Kathy G says:

    I tweeted this to you but I will say it again. It’s an amazing accomplishment that your first book has reached such heights. What an honour to be nominated. You’ve got a contagious spirit, a way with words, and you’ve been a winner in the hearts and minds of many long before we ever knew you were vying for this.

    Congratulations, my friend!

  7. John Teeter says:

    You know how I feel about this. And you know how I feel about the book.

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