Deborah Campbell won the C$60,000 (about US$44,840) Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, which honors works published in Canada that "demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style and technique," for A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War.
"In a seamless blend of storytelling and reportage, Deborah Campbell's A Disappearance in Damascus draws us into the struggles of Iraqi refugees settled in Syria after the fall of Baghdad," the jury noted in its citation. "The principal character, an Iraqi 'fixer' who is also a grieving mother and a nurturing humanitarian, is taken by secret police. Campbell's account of the search to find her, written with compelling prose, nuanced context, and intimate narration, illuminates the dangers of life and work in a conflict zone through a riveting tale of courage, loss, love, and friendship."
A complete list of this year's Writers' Trust of Canada award winners is available here.