The ride continues.... Last week, The Chimps was selected as one of five finalists for one of our country's most prestigious book awards, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. My wife Samantha was at the announcement, and she tells me that the jurors actually quoted from my blog during the press conference. Journalist and author Stevie Cameron read this post, about the thrill of making a prize list, aloud to the crowd. Not sure what else to write here, as I'm beginning to feel a little too blessed by the literary gods this season. So I'll just leave you with the jury's citation about my book, which are some of the kindest words yet written about The Chimps:
BRILLIANTLY BLENDING SCIENCE AND STORYTELLING, primatologist and author Andrew Westoll takes us deep into the world of the haunted and haunting rescued research chimps of Fauna Sanctuary. Pulled from decades of horrific lab conditions, rescued chimps live out the balance of their long lives in sanctuaries such as Fauna, cared for and loved by an extraordinary group of people. Westoll deftly draws the reader into the wild day-to-day ride of life with the Fauna chimps and soon their Otherness falls away. Through his lens, the chimps are revealed as the individuals they are, with all their foibles, damage, and possibility – and the reader’s world view shifts on its axis. Heartrending and heart-warming, this is a stunning and important work of art and documentary and science.
By the way, I found out I was a finalist from Samantha, who texted me - fingers shaking - moments after hearing my name announced. The text read: "You're on the list!!!!!!!!!!!!" I might never delete that one from my phone.