Yes, it's true! This Great Escape was named a finalist for the 2013 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, alongside books by Thomas King, J.B. McKinnon, Graeme Smith, and Priscilla Uppal. Full announcement here.
"The stated purpose of Andrew Steinmetz’s This Great Escape is simple – to profile the actor Michael Paryla, a distant relative of the author, whose crowning glory (just before his sudden and possibly accidental death from an overdose in Hamburg) was an uncredited 57-second appearance in the iconic WWII movie The Great Escape. But under Steinmetz’s obsessive, poetic gaze, the focus gradually expands to capture both writer and reader in the frame. In this innovative and unexpectedly funny book, no one, not even the most insignificant bit player, makes a clean escape."