The finalists for the 2021 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction have been announced, and Douglas & McIntyre congratulates Vancouver Island author Darrel J. McLeod, whose book, Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, has been recognized.
The winner will be announced at the virtual awards show on November 3, 2021
Jury Citation: “Peyakow is more than a story of overcoming adversity; it is a story of personal and political reclamation that explores the pain of living in a world controlled by agendas and priorities that exploit the people and the land itself. Where McLeod finds connection, he also finds obligation. In the end, he discovers that being part of a community is not a passive act. McLeod’s vibrant prose renders the world with tenderness and skill. His profound book is full of love and trouble that you won’t soon forget.” — 2021 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction Jury (Kevin Chong, Terese Marie Mailhot, and Adam Shoalts)
Governor General Literary Award-winning author Darrel J. McLeod continues his journey for identity and meaning in Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, the follow-up memoir to Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age (Douglas & McIntyre, 2018). In Peyakow , Cree for “one who walks alone”, a traumatic personal, family and cultural past is exacerbated by the complex and turbulent social and political landscape that McLeod navigates as an adult. The enduring strength of his Cree heritage and family bonds sustains McLeod as he wrestles with issues of sexual identity, loss, love, addiction, racism, poverty, Indigenous rights and security. Throughout his personal and professional lives, whether acting as a school principal, negotiating federal treaties or representing an Indigenous delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, McLeod’s uncompromising humanity, intellectual curiosity, deep empathy and titanium resiliency buoys the reader. McLeod’s story is both personal and political – a testament to an individual’s capacity to resist oppression in all forms.
Darrel J. 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. He holds degrees in French Literature and Education from UBC, is fluent in French, Spanish, English, and is studying Cree. Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity is McLeod’s second memoir following the events in Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age (Douglas & McIntyre), which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and was nominated for the RBC Taylor Prize, George Ryga Award for Social Awareness, and the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. Darrel lives, write and sings jazz in Sooke, B.C. and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Nonfiction is given annually for excellence in the category of literary nonfiction, which includes essays, history, biography, memoir, commentary and criticism. The winning book demonstrates a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style and technique. The prize has been sponsored by The Hon. Hilary M. Weston since 2011. All books on the 2021 Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize finalist list can be found at: https://www.writerstrust.com/awards/hilary-weston-writers-trust-prize-for-nonfiction
For more information, to request a review copy of Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, or to schedule an interview with Darrel J. McLeod, please contact Corina Eberle at Douglas & McIntyre:
Toronto & National Publicity Director
Harbour Publishing / Douglas & McIntyre / Nightwood Editions