October 26, 2011
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 Players‘ Andrew 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…