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The Writers’ Trust of Canada is taking things international. The charity that champions Canadian authors has created the $75,000 Weston International Award to honour the career achievement of a living international author for a body of non-fiction work.

The prize is funded by the Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation, a private philanthropic organization named for the former lieutenant-governor of Ontario and the late billionaire businessman.

The Weston International Award is a companion to the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, awarded annually to a Canadian author for a single work.

“We wanted to highlight someone who has committed their career to this kind of writing,” said Charles Foran, executive director of the Writers’ Trust. “There’s something appealing about celebrating a body of work covering 15, 20 or 30 years. That’s meaningful.”

Eligible authors must have published at least three non-fiction books of outstanding literary merit, and the works must be in English or else widely available in translation. Literary non-fiction includes, among other forms, works of personal or journalistic essays, memoirs, commentary, criticism both social and political, history and biography.

Though the Writers’ Trust is dedicated to advancing and feting this country’s writers, Canadian authors are not eligible for the Weston International Award, which is targeted at establishing literary fellowship between domestic authors and their colleagues abroad.

“As global citizens, we all benefit from books that have the power to inform and expand our collective knowledge,” Ms. Weston said in a press release. “This is a unique opportunity for Canadian authors to celebrate their international peers while at the same time promoting their own work on the world stage.”

The all-Canadian jury for this year’s award is a star quintet of non-fiction authors: Kamal Al-Solaylee, Denise Chong, Wayne Grady, Charlotte Gray and Kate Harris. They will consider the works of a publicly undisclosed long list of international authors selected by an advisory committee of British broadcaster and journalist Mariella Frostrup, globe-trotting essayist and novelist Pico Iyer, and biographer-historian Sam Tanenhaus, former editor of The New York Times Book Review.

The Canadian jury will be new each year. It is expected that the international three-person committee will stay on for the first three years. “It sometimes takes a while to land what you’re trying to do, and we felt an international committee would help us with that,” said Foran, a Member of the Order of Canada and author of 11 books. “Also, we want this award to become known in London, New York and elsewhere. It makes sense to have these committee members, who are supportive of what we’re doing, in those places.”

The winner will be announced on June 20. They will travel to Toronto in September to deliver a talk on a subject related to the importance of non-fiction – an especially relevant topic, Foran says, since we are living in an age when news media and science are increasingly mistrusted.

“A seed has been planted that somehow there is truthiness rather than truth, and that information and disinformation are somehow the same thing depending on who is saying it and why they are saying it,” said the author of 2008′s Join The Revolution, Comrade. “This award is part of that conversation. We are planting this very modest flag.”

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