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Thomas King names Leanne Simpson inaugural Taylor Prize Emerging Writer

Leanne Simpson (photo: Aaron Mason)

Indigenous author and traditional storyteller Leanne Simpson has been named the inaugural recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Simpson will receive $10,000 and mentoring from RBC Taylor Prize winner Thomas King, who nominated her for the award.

In a press release, King says Simpson was an obvious choice. “She is a gifted writer who brings passion and commitment to her storytelling and who has demonstrated an uncommon ability to manage an impressive range of genres from traditional storytelling to critical analysis, from poetry to the spoken word, from literary and social activism to song-writing.”

Simpson, a member of the Alderville First Nation in Rice Lake, Ontario, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and is an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge at Athabasca University. Known as a leading indigenous scholar, she has published five books that seek to preserve oral culture and critically examine the political struggles of Canada’s indigenous people.

“[King’s] impact on my generation of Indigenous artists and writers is profound and I will be forever grateful to him for his brilliant body of work,” says Simpson in the press release. “His work lifts Indigenous peoples up, he makes us laugh out loud, and most importantly, he speaks our truths.”