Prize spotlights exemplary non-fiction work


The 2012 winner of the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction will be announced Monday at a luncheon  in Toronto.

This year’s finalists are Wade Davis (Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest), Charlotte Gill (Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe), J.J. Lee (The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit), Madeline Sonik (Afflictions & Departures: Essays) and Andrew Westoll (The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery).

The national book award was established in 2000 to commemorate the life and work of the late Charles Taylor, one of Canada’s foremost essayists. It is awarded annually to the author whose book best combines s command of the English language, an elegance of style, and subtlety of thought and perception.

The prize consists of $25,000 for the winner and $2,000 for each of the runners-up, as well as promotional support for all short-listed books. The winner will also be invited to read at the International Festival of Authors in October at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre.

Pit Pony author reflected Nova Scotia life


CBC News reports that Nova Scotia children’s author Joyce Barkhouse has died following a heart attack. She was 98.

The author of eight books and many children’s stories, she was probably best known for Pit Pony, the story of a boy and his horse working in the Cape Breton coal mines, which was published in 1990. The book was made into a Gemini-winning film in 1997 and spun off into a 44-episode series in 1999.

Barkhouse came late to professional writing. Her first published book, George Dawson: The Little Giant, came out in 1974 when she was a 61-year-old grandmother.

Many of her works reflected Nova Scotia life. Long-time friend Janet Lunn, a children’s author herself, told the CBC that Barkhouse was “Nova Scotia through and through.”

“She loved Nova Scotia like no other place all her life,”

In 2007, Barkhouse received the Order of Nova Scotia and in 2009 she became a member of the Order of Canada. She was also an honorary life member of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and of the Writers’ Union of Canada.

Union needs a short, snappy postcard


The Writers’ Union of Canada has launched its 13th annual Postcard Story Competition, inviting writers to say something memorable in 250 words or fewer for a shot at the $750 prize.

The winning entry will be published in postcard format and distributed in Write, the Writers’ Union magazine.

Deadline for entries is February 14, 2012. The winner will be announced in May.

The contest is open to any Canadian citizen or landed immigrant, published or unpublished, who can pen original English-language fiction or non-fiction, render it in double-spaced, 12-point type on white paper, slip it into an envelope with a $7.50 cheque or money order and mail it to the Writers’ Union office.

Don’t staple anything. And no electronic submissions, please.

Writers Clayton Bailey, John Lent and Nerys Parry will decide whose postcard is the snappiest.

Send entries to The Writers’ Union of Canada, 90 Richmond Street East, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario, M5C 1P1. Rules and regulations are available at: