By Helen Surgenor
Joseph Kertes, dean of Humber’s School of Creative and Performing Arts, was named juror for the 2013 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction on Thursday.
The trustees of The Charles Taylor Foundation chose Kertes as a juror because “he’s a force within literature,” spokesman for the Charles Taylor Foundation, Stephen Weir, told Humber News.
“He’s out there encouraging Canadians to write, he’s encouraging Canadians to read.”
The Charles Taylor Prize, named after the author and Globe and Mail reporter, has been awarded annually since 2000 for “elegance of style, quality of thought, and subtlety of perception,” according to a statement from the foundation.
“I think the prize has been right on in picking its book in past years,” said Kertes, citing Charles Foran’s The Life and Times of Mordecai Richler and Isabel Huggan’s Belonging among his favourite winners.
Kertes will join broadcaster Susanne Boyce and Toronto Star columnist Richard Gwyn in narrowing down the prize’s long list to one winner who will be awarded $25,000.
“I feel honoured to be in their company, and I’m happy to do it,” Kertes told Humber News, saying that it’s an honour both for him and Humber College to be part of the jury.
“He single-handedly has made Humber College a centre for literature,” Weir said.
Despite having to consider between 95 and 120 books for the prize, Kertes said he’s confident in his ability to determine which are monumentally important works.
“You often know within the first five to 10 pages if the book is original,” he said.
Last year’s winner was Andrew Westoll for his book, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary.
The winners of the Charles Taylor Prize will be announced during international literary festival, Litfest, in Edmonton, Alta. on March 4, 2013.