UWinnipeg prof shortlisted for book prize

Writer, and UWinnipeg scholar Dr. Jenny Heijun Wills (English) is one of five writers that has been shortlisted for the $60K 2019 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Her book, Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related  explores the impact of being raised by a family of a different ethnicity and culture. 

Wills was born in Korea, but was adopted by a Canadian family and raised in a small town. When she was in her early twenties, she decided to travel back to Korea to meet her extended birth family, and other young people who were adopted from Korea and raised abroad. 

The shortlist was selected by the jury panel comprised of Ivan Coyote, Trevor Herriot and Manjushree Thapa. Older Sister. Not Necessarily related was one of five books chosen from 99 titles submitted by publishers. The jury describes the Willis’ book as “finely observed, meticulous and candid.”

The winner will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony in Toronto on Nov. 5, 2019.

Wills is an associate professor in UWinnipeg’s Department of English. She writes about race and ethnicity, both as a scholar of literary and cultural studies, and as a creative writer. She is currently writing a confessional novel entitled Sip, inspired by the life of the one surviving Korean adopted child of notorious cult-leader and mass murderer, Jim Jones. She is co-president of the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture and serves as an editorial board member for the literary studies journal, ARIEL.

The Hilary Weston Writers’ 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.

Naniece Ibrahim, Communications Officer,
The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7130, E: n.ibrahim@uwinnipeg.ca

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