A book by a University of Guelph philosophy professor is a finalist for the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, one of the most lucrative literary prizes in Canada.

Karyn Freedman’s One Hour in Paris was one of four books to make the shortlist for the coveted $40,000 prize, which was announced today.

“I am thrilled to be nominated, and it is a real privilege to be included in this group of talented and distinguished writers,” Freedman said.

The four finalists were selected from the 10 semifinalists chosen in November from a pool of 134 nominees.

U of G graduate Alison Pick is also on the shortlist for Between Gods, A Memoir.

Last year’s prize winner was retired U of G professor Thomas King, who was recognized for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America.

This year’s winner will be chosen by a three-member jury in February 2015.

“This year’s shortlisted books, as diverse as their subjects are, share the trait of being universally important and informative about the world we live in today,” said B.C. Achievement Foundation chair Keith Mitchell.

Freedman’s book tells her personal story of rape and perseverance. It takes the reader on a journey of pain and recovery, from an hour of brutal violence in Paris in 1990 to a court trial, to years of silent suffering, to scholarly pursuits and a faculty position, to volunteering in a rape crisis centre in Africa.

One Hour In Paris is a book about rape, but, more than that, it’s a book about our collective failure to address the ways in which sexual violence shames and silences its victims and taints our society as a whole,” the BC Achievement Foundation said in a news release.

“With stylistic clarity, Freedman, a philosopher, offers a harrowing account of her assault and its repercussions, and then moves on to an analysis of why sexual violence is both pervasive and under-reported. One Hour in Paris is a slim book but a powerful one, and has the potential to catalyze the kind of dialogue that can lead to social change.”

In the book, Freedman also openly discusses the obstacles faced by rape survivors and the personal consequences on sex, intimacy, love and relationships.

“I wrote this book because I thought I had something to share, and I had reached a stage in my own recovery where I felt I could tell my story in a way that others might benefit from,” she said.