Oct. 18, 2023
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO — Wilfrid Laurier University has named author Jillian Horton, M.D., the winner of its 2022 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for her book We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.). The process of awarding a 2022 winner was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the book, Dr. Horton, a gifted internist, examines her drive to reverse her family’s experience of medical ineptitude while becoming physically and psychologically exhausted by her responsibilities as a doctor, teacher and mother. Her participation in a mindfulness retreat for healthcare workers gives her, quite literally, the breathing room she needs to reassess herself and her profession, shedding the cloak of the all-knowing physician to reveal the human being within and challenging readers to develop a more humane, balanced vision of healing.
“This is a book that offers rich insight into the high-stress lives of physicians even before the pandemic,” said Bruce Gillespie, an award juror and associate professor in the User Experience Design program at Laurier’s Brantford campus. “It really stood apart from the other submissions, not only for its timeliness but for its humility, grace and humour.”
The other jurors for the 2022 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction were Sharon Brown, former librarian at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Harry Froklage, former associate director, development, in the Faculty of Arts.
“Dr. Horton’s book makes a strong case for the powerful role that the arts can play in our lives,” said Gavin Brockett, vice-dean of the Faculty of Arts. “Her memoir draws back the curtain on the pressures physicians face during their training and then in field, something few patients may ever see or fully appreciate. But it also demonstrates how we may understand ourselves better and find healing through storytelling and personal writing.”
An award ceremony and reception to honour Dr. Horton will be held on Nov. 9, at 3 p.m., in the Lodge Administration Building (45 Lodge St.) on Laurier’s Waterloo campus. Nominees for the 2023 award will be announced later this winter.
The $10,000 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance. Established and endowed by writer and award-winning journalist Edna Staebler in 1991, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award.
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Lori Chalmers Morrison, Director: Integrated Communications, External Relations
Wilfrid Laurier University