Monday, February 09, 2009

Prize Watch

Late update: Tim Cook's Shock Troops the winnah!

Been meaning to note Russell Wangersky, winner last week of the British Columbia Prize in non-fiction for his fire-fighting memoir Bringing Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself.

The other big Canadian non-fiction prize, the Charles Taylor, goes later today. Shock Troops, the second book of Tim Cook's big World War One history, Elizabeth Abbott's Sugar, and Angel of Vengeance by Ana Siljak. An all-history list.

There's been some press coverage lately of how the Taylor seems to have swooped from very lit'ry memoirs to hard-edge history. I'm not sure the Taylor has really found its form yet. In the early years fiction writers dominated the jurors, and the winners were all novelists. Now there seems to be a shift to the "information book." Not to let the prize-givers off the hook entirely, but partly it's the incoherence of the genre. The juries don't know what the gold standard is, and they make it up as they go along.

There was no overlap at all between the BC list and the Taylor list. Still, good luck to the nominees and their worthy books.
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