Tanya Talaga Wins the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize for Seven Fallen Feathers

Founder RBC Taylor Prize Noreen Taylor and 2018 winner Tanya Talaga (photo Tom Sandler Photography) (CNW Group/RBC Taylor Prize)
Founder RBC Taylor Prize Noreen Taylor and 2018 winner Tanya Talaga (photo Tom Sandler Photography) (CNW Group/RBC Taylor Prize)

Tanya Talaga Wins the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize for Seven Fallen Feathers

TORONTO, Feb. 26, 2018 /CNW/ – The Winner of the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize is Tanya Talaga (Toronto, ON) for her book Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, published by House of Anansi Press.

The $25,000 award was announced today by Prize founder and Chair Noreen Taylor during a gala luncheon celebrating this year’s finalists at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto. In addition to the cash prize, Ms. Talaga received a crystal trophy and a leather-bound version of her book.

Noreen Taylor, prize founder and chair of the Charles Taylor Foundation expressed her delight, stating: “There is a self-assurance about Canada which is being expressed not only in writers’ willingness to explore the world around us but also in their willingness to pursue today’s necessary stories. These endeavours help propel us into making informed and confident choices about our future. It is these accomplishments that the RBC Taylor Prize celebrates with Seven Fallen Feathers.”

Vijay Parmar, president of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel, added: “On behalf of RBC Wealth Management, I am delighted to congratulate Ms. Talaga on this tremendous achievement. To win the RBC Taylor Prize Award is a prestigious honour and we are proud of our partnership with the Charles Taylor Foundation in inspiring and promoting the extraordinary literary talent of our non-fiction writers from across the country.”

In its citation of the winning book, the jury notes: “Talaga has written Canada’s J’Accuse, an open letter to the rest of us about the many ways we contribute – through act or inaction – to suicides and damaged existences in Canada’s indigenous communities. Tanya Talaga’s account of teen lives and deaths in and near Thunder Bay is detailed, balanced and heart-rending. Talaga describes gaps in the system large enough for beloved children and adults to fall through, endemic indifference, casual racism and a persistent lack of resources. It is impossible to read this book and come away unchanged.”

About the winner: Tanya Talaga is an award-winning journalist at the Toronto Star. In 2015, she was part of a team that won a National Newspaper Award for Gone, a series of stories on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She is the 2017- 2018 Atkinson Fellow in Public Policy. Her great-grandmother, Liz Gauthier, was a residential school survivor. Her great-grandfather, Russell Bowen, was an Ojibwe trapper and labourer. Her grandmother is a member of Fort William First Nation. Her mother was raised in Raith and Graham, Ontario. Talaga lives in Toronto with her two teenage children.

The four remaining finalists are: Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska by Stephen R. Bown (Canmore, AB), published by Douglas & McIntyre; Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place by Daniel Coleman (Hamilton, ON), published by Wolsak and Wynn; Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine by James Maskalyk (Toronto, ON), published by Doubleday Canada; In the Name of Humanity by Max Wallace (Toronto, ON) published by Allen Lane Canada. All five finalists, including the winning author, received a $5,000 honorarium, a leather-bound version of their book, and extensive publicity.
The jurors for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize are Christine Elliott, Anne Giardini and James Polk. They read and evaluated a record 152 books written by Canadian authors and submitted by 110 Canadian and international publishers to determine the winner for this, the seventeenth awarding of the prestigious prize.

Established in 1998 by the trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation and first awarded in 2000, 2018 marks the seventeenth awarding of the RBC Taylor Prize, which commemorates Charles Taylor’s pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction. Awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception, the Prize consists of $5,000 for each finalist, and a further $25,000 for the winner. All authors are presented with a custom leather-bound version of their shortlisted book at the awards ceremony. All finalists receive promotional support for their nominated titles.

Sharing a commitment to emerging Canadian talent, the Charles Taylor Foundation and RBC will also grant the fifth annual RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Award. Shortly after the announcement of the 2018 Prize, its winner will name their choice of emerging author to receive this $10,000 award.

The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are: Vijay Parmar, David Staines, Edward Taylor, Nadina Taylor, and Noreen Taylor. The Executive Director is Su Hutchinson.

The presenting sponsor of the RBC Taylor Prize is RBC Wealth Management. Its media sponsors are The Globe and Mail, CBC Books, Cision, and Quill & Quire magazine; its in-kind sponsors are Ben McNally Books, Event Source, IFOA, The Omni King Edward Hotel, and the Toronto Public Library Board.
SOURCE RBC Taylor Prize

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