11/06/2012 12:48 EST | Updated 01/06/2013 05:12 EST

B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction long list revealed

VANCOUVER - A hostage's tale of captivity, an ode to public transit, and a dark look at the history of a writer's new town are among the 10 semi-finalists for the $40,000 B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.

"A Season in Hell: My 130 Days in the Sahara with Al Qaeda" by Robert Fowler recalls his kidnapping in 2008.

"Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile" by Taras Grescoe, which is also a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-fiction, compares transit systems around the world and details the lives of "straphangers" — commuters who use transit not cars to get around.

Also up for the Writers' Trust is "A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape" by Candace Savage, about Cypress Hills in southwestern Saskatchewan.

The other longlisted books are:

— "A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter's Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring" by Nahlah Ayed, also a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for non-fiction

— "Here We are Among the Living: A Memoir in Emails" by Samantha Bernstein

— "Pinboy: A Memoir" by George Bowering

— "Solar Dance: Genius, Forgery, and the Crisis of Truth in the Modern Age" by Modris Eksteins

— "Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy" by Andrew Preston

— "The Last Viking: The Life of Roald Amundsen" by Stephen R. Bown

— "Walls: Travels Along the Barricades" by Marcello Di Cintio

The finalists for the award will be announced Dec. 4 and the winner will be revealed in Vancouver in early 2013.

Last year's winner for Charlotte Gill for her tree-cutting tale "Eating Dirt."