By A.J.Lam

Naomi Klein, journalist and social activist, was announced the winner of the 2014 $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, for This Changes Everything:  Capitalism vs the Climate, during a posh presentation at the Weston Family Learning Centre of the Art Gallery of Ontario.  This “prize is awarded for literary excellence in the category of nonfiction, which includes, among other forms, personal or journalistic essays, history, biography, memoirs, commentary, and criticism, both social and political. Finalist works will, in the opinion of the jury, demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and technique.”

According to the jury, “Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything is a ground-breaking work on how climate change changes everything. Written with an elegant blend of science, statistics, field reports and personal insight, it does not paralyze but buoys the reader. The book’s exploration of climate change from the perspective of how capitalism functions produces fresh insights and its examination of the interconnectedness between our relationship with nature and the creation of better, fairer societies presents a radical proposal. Klein’s urgency and outrage is balanced by meticulous documentation and passionate argument. Heart and mind go hand in hand in this magisterial response to a present crisis.”

Hon. Hilary M. Weston served as the 26th Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario from 1997 to 2002. As the Queen’s representative in Ontario, Mrs. Weston was responsible for the Crown’s constitutional and representational roles in the province. Since leaving public office, Mrs. Weston has continued to pursue her diverse interests. She led Renaissance ROM, the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian cultural history, transforming the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. She is a trustee of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle and serves on the board of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mrs. Weston is also a corporate director of Wittington Investments and Selfridges Group Ltd. She has also served as deputy chair of the board of Holt Renfrew, promoting Canadian designers in the retailing business.

In addition to Naomi Klein and the finalists, Susan Delacourt for Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them, Charles Montgomery for Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design, Paula Todd for Extreme Mean: Trolls, Bullies, and Predators Online, and Kathleen Winter for Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage, the Weston family, and the current Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Elizabeth Dowdeswell, many members of the Canadian literary, philanthropic, and visual arts communities gathered for the awarding of the richest annual literary award for a book of nonfiction published in Canada. A big thank you goes out to Jennifer Bassett of Bassett Events for the invite and hospitality.