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Gill, Westoll among Charles Taylor Prize nominees

Just as a pair of novels came to dominate the past fall’s literary awards season, so too has a pair of non-fiction titles, about tree-planting in the Pacific Northwest and a group of chimps living out their days in a Quebec animal sanctuary, emerged as the books to beat.

Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe (Greystone Books) by Charlotte Gill  and The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery (HarperCollins Canada) by Andrew Westoll (both of which were named Q&Q books of the year for 2011) led the nominations for the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction, the shortlist for which was announced in Toronto Tuesday morning. Both titles are also on the shortlist for the $40,000 B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-fiction, which was unveiled last month.

The complete shortlist, as chosen by jurors Allan M. Brandt, Stevie Cameron, and Susan Renouf, is as follows:

The winner of the $25,000 Charles Taylor Prize will be announced at a gala luncheon in Toronto on March 5.

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Hall of Honourers

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Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Eva Stachniak poses with a copy of her book, Empress of the Night

Tea and snacks inspired by Eva Stachniak's Empress of the Night

Rimma Burashko with author Eva Stachniak

Eva Stachniak talks to the audience about the best and worst of Catherine the Great's favourites

Eva Stachniak smiles as she signs a copy of Empress of the Night for a fan

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