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March 2, 2015

Great Books Take Non-Fiction Prizes

one-hour-in-paristhey-left-us-everything‘But it is obvious that the values of women differ very often from the values which have been made by the other sex; naturally this is so. Yet is it the masculine values that prevail. Speaking crudely, football and sport are “important”; the worship of fashion, the buying of clothes “trivial.” And these values are inevitably transferred from life to fiction. This is an important book, the critic assumes, because it deals with war. This is an insignificant book because it deals with the feelings of women in a drawing-room.’ –Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Non-fiction by women gets the short shrift, even though women are often writing stories that nobody has ever told before, while, does anybody really need about book on WW1? So I am especially happy at the awarding of two recent fiction prizes to excellent books which were among my favourite books of 2014.

Karyn L. Freedman’s One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery has won the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction, and Plum Johnson’s They Left Us Everything today became the first book by a woman to win the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction since Isabel Huggan won it in 2004. Both these books prove that personal memoirs can indeed have far-reaching global and historical implications, and demonstrate remarkable research, story-telling and insight. They’re exquisite books, and I’m so glad that even more readers are now going to discover this for themselves.

3 thoughts on “Great Books Take Non-Fiction Prizes”

  1. Nadia says:

    Gotta love Woolf! You are spot on with regards to non-fiction written by women – they most definitely get the short shrift. I’m happy to see these two authors being honored for their writing – so well deserved.

  2. And speaking of non-fiction by women, Myrl Coulter’s new book of essays just arrived in my mailbox today!

    1. Kerry says:

      Yay!! I may have to wait a day or two longer. Really excited about this one.

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