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Sooke author among finalists for $60K Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust prize

Prize is the richest annual literary award for Canadian nonfiction
Darrel J. McLeod is nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for his book Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, A Memoir. (Contributed - Douglas & McIntyre)

Sooke author Darrel J. McLeod is one of five Canadian writers shortlisted for the 2021 Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

The $60,000 prize is awarded annually to the best in Canadian nonfiction. It is the largest prize for nonfiction in Canada.

McLeod, a Governor General Literary Award-winning author, is nominated for Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, a personal and autobiographical book on the complexities of Indigenous identity.

Peyakow, published by Douglas & McIntyre, is the follow-up memoir to Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age.

In Peyakow, Cree for “one who walks alone,” a traumatic personal, family and cultural past are exacerbated by the complex and turbulent social and political landscape that McLeod navigates as an adult.

McLeod is Nehiyaw (Cree) from Treaty Eight territory in Northern Alberta. Before pursuing writing in his retirement, McLeod was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations.

The other finalists are Disorientation: Being Black in the World by Ian Williams, Permanent Astonishment: A Memoir by Tomson Highway, On Foot to Canterbury by Ken Haigh, and Nishga by Jordan Abel.

This year’s five finalists were selected by the jury from 107 titles submitted by 64 publishers. The jury is comprised of Canadian writers Kevin Chong, Terese Marie Mailhot and Adam Shoalts.

The winner will be announced on Nov. 3. The four remaining finalists will each receive $5,000.

For more on the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Nonfiction, please go online to

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Kevin Laird

About the Author: Kevin Laird

It's my passion to contribute to the well-being of the community by connecting people through the power of reliable news and storytelling.
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