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RBC Taylor Prize announces short list (Includes first-hand account)

On Wednesday morning in Toronto the short list for the RBC Taylor Prize was announced, bringing a spotlight to Canadian authors who strive to bring truth to the public.

This is the 14th year of the RBC Taylor Prize, named for the late journalist Charles Taylor. Taylor was a renowned writer who worked for The Globe and Mail. Taylor’s widow Noreen Taylor established the prize honouring the best in Canadian non-fiction. Jurors Ms Kevin Garland, Martin Levin and Andrew Preston worked through a compelling list of books to narrow the 2015 short list. These books take us to the past, the present and to internal struggles weaving stories that compel and engage us.

Ms. Taylor started the morning’s announcement off by stressing the importance of non-fiction in today’s world. Touching on the tragedy last week in Paris where journalists were slaughtered by extremists Taylor spoke with pride about the role that the non-fiction writer plays in society.

Vijay Parmar, President of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel and a trustee of the RBC Taylor Prize said that the books within the prize are the best of the the art of literature.

The 2015 RBC Taylor Prize Short List is:

They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson

The story of emptying the family home after Johnson’s mother dies at the age of 93. As the house is decluttered the memories of a life with parents who were very different is relived.

One Day In August: The Untold Story Behind Canada’s Tragedy At Dieppe by David O’Keefe

O’Keefe takes us to the raid of Dieppe, France during one of the darkest days of Canada’s involvement in WWII. O’Keefe spent 15 years researching the back story of the raid bringing new light to the story.

The Last Asylum: A Memoir Of Madness in Our Times by Barbara Taylor

The story of Taylor’s time at Friern Hospital and the decades long journey of psychoanalysis. Her story of how mental illness was and is treated is a powerfully honest narrative of this often misunderstood disease.

And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa by M.G. Vassanji

A travel story that only Vassanji could bring of East Africa. From witch doctors, slave trade and the food that nourishes Kenya and Tanzania this story brings readers a real look at the culture that is East Africa.

Boundless by Kathleen Winter

Winter’s journey across the Northwest Passage comes alive in her book. From nature to how the Inuit people struggle with the global economy this look at the far North is powerful and haunting at the same time.

For the next six weeks the Short Listed authors will be taking part in events showcasing their books. On February 26 the Toronto Reference Library will host a free Round Table discussion with the five authors. On March 1 the annual The Globe and Mail/Ben McNally Author’s Brunch will take place at the Omni King Edward Hotel. Tickets are available for the event at

On March 2 the 2015 winner of the RBC Taylor Prize will be announced at The King Edward Hotel in Toronto. The winner of the prize will receive $25,000 and a crystal trophy. The runner-us each are awarded $2,000.

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