The Chimps wins the Charles Taylor Prize!

It is my distinct honour to announce that The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary has won the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. The Taylor Prize is our country’s most prestigious non-fiction book prize, and although the ceremony was three days ago, I am still in shock about the whole thing. I will never forget the moment my name was announced, in a packed Sovereign Ballroom at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto, and the wave of applause that followed. But what happened next? It’s all a bit foggy.

I remember kissing my wife, hugging my parents and giving my editor a high-five. I also remember wading through the standing ovation towards His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, so I could shake his hand. Then I was on stage for a while, thanking the jury and hugging Noreen Taylor, who founded the prize eleven years ago in honour of her husband. I gave a speech, during which I broke down a bit, forgot to thank my agents and my publisher, and listed off the names of the chimps of Fauna, one by one. Thankfully, I remembered to thank my wife.

And then I became the subject of a rather intense little media scrum. The funniest thing about the scrum, or the only thing I remember about the scrum, is how damn polite it was. There were about fifteen audio recorders in my face, and at least four video cameras, but for the first few seconds, no one asked me any questions. It was hilarious! We were all just standing there silently, each reporter waiting for the other to take their turn.

Anyway, an hour later, it was just me, my family, my agents, my publicists and Noreen, standing around and chatting in the Ballroom, none of us keen to leave. We ended up in the bar (of course) but it seemed to take forever to get there. My fellow shortlisted authors were long gone; I never got to say a proper goodbye. And now it’s three days later, The Chimps has had more publicity than I ever thought possible, and it feels as though the general anesthetic is finally beginning to wear off after one hell of an awesome trip to la-la-land.

What a ride. I am so thankful. I guess it’s about time to start thinking about my next book, huh?

This is Noreen and me, immediately after the win. It’s weird… I don’t look unconscious.

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12 Responses to The Chimps wins the Charles Taylor Prize!

  1. Congratulations! I hope this well-deserved prize brings your book to the attention of a million more people. Thank you for telling the true story of chimpanzees in research.

  2. Rosemary White says:

    Congratulations Andrew! You deserve the prize; your book is fascinating and memorable.

    Proud to be a former student of yours,


  3. Vineca Gray says:

    Congratulations! We have all won this award, haven’t we ( metaphorically speaking)?

    You and your family, editor, publisher and Gloria and her family (and beloved extended family) at Fauna Santuary, your students, anthropologists around the world who spend their lives tirelessly advocating for the protection and recognition of our primate cousins, and finally – regular folk like me. Enjoy every moment – I know I am!

  4. Pingback: Champagne Toasts, Dee Dee and the Dirty Martinis « Hyperactive Inefficiency

  5. Sharon says:

    So nice to meet you at HarperCollins on Friday to celebrate your big win. I know. Such a generic thing to say, even for an intern. Some might affectionately be so bold to say, “vapidly sincere”. Thanks for the pingback. I’m flattered, actually.

  6. Kate Edwards says:

    CONGRATULATIONS, On this well-deserved and wonderful win. I’m in the midst of reading your book now, and loving it! Way to go.

  7. Lianne says:

    Hi Andrew -
    I just finished your book over the noon hour today – I could not put it down and I was in tears as I read about Tom. Thank you for sharing Gloria’s story – I will be sharing the story of the chimpanzees will everyone I know.

  8. Lorna MacFarlane says:

    Congratulations Andrew! I’m looking forward to reading your latest book and will look forward to future ones from you.

  9. Kerri Matlock says:

    I echo every other person on a job well done. More importantly wanted to tell you that because of this book I have taken on the journey of starting my own sanctuary. Well, that and when I decided to call Dawna one day, and she said “if you build it, they will come”. I am self proclaimed 1/2 Gloria Grow and 1/2 Bethenney Frankel! So someday I will make my public thanks to the both of you!
    What do you think your next book will be about?

    • Andrew Westoll says:

      Hey Kerri. Sorry for the delay in responding. Good for you!
      I’m still deciding on the next book… stay tuned to this spot!
      Thanks for writing.

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