The three-member jury of the RBC Taylor Prize have announced the five books shortlisted for the award, which celebrates excellence in literary non-fiction in English. Jurors Anne Giardini, James Polk, and Christine Elliott whittled the initial 153 submissions down to a 10-title longlist announced in December before settling on the top five picks, which include James Maskalyk’s medical memoir Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine (Doubleday Canada), which has already claimed the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction; and Tanya Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City (House of Anansi Press), which is also in the running for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
Rounding out the shortlist are: Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska by Stephen R. Bown (Douglas & McIntyre); Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place by Daniel Coleman (Wolsak & Wynn Publishers); and In the Name of Humanity by Max Wallace (Allen Lane Canada/PRHC).
At the announcement, Taylor Prize founder and chair Noreen Taylor noted she was “staggered by the breadth and power of our storytellers, and the appetite of Canadian readers for stories about ourselves, about our neighbours, about our shared earth, and the historical and current challenges we all face.”
A free round-table discussion presented by the Toronto Public Library and IFOA with the five finalists will take place at the Lillian H. Smith Library Feb. 22, followed by the Ben McNally Author Brunch on Feb. 25. Both events are open to the public.
Now in its 17th year, the $30,000 annual prize will be awarded at a luncheon held at Toronto’s Omni King Edward Hotel on Feb. 26, with each of the remaining finalists taking home $5,000.