RBC Taylor Prize

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RBC Taylor Prize
Awarded forEnglish-language Canadian literary non-fiction work
Presented byRBC Wealth Management and the Charles Taylor Foundation
First awarded2000
Last awarded2020

The RBC Taylor Prize (2000–2020), formerly known as the Charles Taylor Prize, is a Canadian literary award, presented by the Charles Taylor Foundation to the best Canadian work of literary non-fiction. It is named for Charles P. B. Taylor, a noted Canadian historian and writer. The 2020 prize will be the final year after which the prize will be concluded.[1] The prize was inaugurated in 2000, and was presented biennially until 2004. At the 2004 awards ceremony, it was announced that the Charles Taylor Prize would become an annual award. The award has a monetary value of $30,000.

The award adopted its present name in December 2013, when RBC Wealth Management was announced as the new corporate sponsor.[2] In addition, under RBC's sponsorship the award added a second $10,000 award for an emerging Canadian literary non-fiction writer between the ages of 18 and 35, to be chosen by the winner of the main award. This award was presented for the first time at the 2014 ceremony.[2]

In 2018 the new RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Mentorship Program was unveiled. This is a professional development program designed to support the next generation of Canadian writers and is part of the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Award, a distinction that is given annually to a Canadian author whose work embodies the pursuit of excellence in literary non-fiction.

The mentorship program is being made available to five Canadian non-fiction writers, who are selected in partnership with a national network of university and college writing programs. These students have been paired with the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize shortlisted authors, who will help support their career development and growth.

The organizers have announced that the 2020 announcement will be the final presentation of the award.[3]

Winners and nominees[edit]

Year Winner Nominated
2000 Wayne Johnston, Baltimore's Mansion
2002 Carol Shields, Jane Austen
  • Clark Blaise, Time Lord: The Remarkable Canadian who Missed His Train and Changed the World
  • Michael David Kwan, Things That Must Not Be Forgotten: A Childhood in Wartime China
  • A. B. McKillop, The Spinster and the Prophet: Florence Deeks, H.G. Wells and the Mystery of the Purloined Past
  • Nega Mezlekia, Notes from the Hyena's Belly: Memories of my Ethiopian Boyhood
  • Margaret Visser, The Geometry of Love: Space, Time, Mystery and Meaning in an Ordinary Church
2004 Isabel Huggan, Belonging: Home Away From Home
2005 Charles Montgomery, The Last Heathen: Encounters with Ghosts and Ancestors in Melanesia
2006 J. B. MacKinnon, Dead Man in Paradise
2007 Rudy Wiebe, Of This Earth: A Mennonite Boyhood in the Boreal Forest
  • John English, Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Vol. One: 1919-1968
  • Ross King, The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism
2008 Richard Gwyn, John A.: The Man Who Made Us: The Life and Times of John A. Macdonald, Vol. One: 1815-1867
  • Kevin Bazzana, Lost Genius: The Story of a Forgotten Musical Maverick
  • David Gilmour, The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and Son
  • Lorna Goodison, From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People
  • Anna Porter, Kasztner's Train: The True Story of Rezso Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust
2009 Tim Cook, Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War 1917-1918
  • Elizabeth Abbott, Sugar: A Bittersweet History
  • Ana Siljak, Angel of Vengeance: The Girl Assassin, the Governor of St. Petersburg and Russia's Revolutionary World
2010 Ian Brown, The Boy in the Moon: A Father's Search For His Disabled Son
2011 Charles Foran, Mordecai: The Life & Times
  • Stevie Cameron, On the Farm: Robert William Pickton and the Tragic Story of Vancouver’s Missing Women
  • Ross King, Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven
  • George Sipos, The Geography of Arrival: A Memoir
  • Merrily Weisbord, The Love Queen of Malabar: Memoir of a Friendship with Kamala Das
2012 Andrew Westoll, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery
  • Wade Davis, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest
  • Charlotte Gill, Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe
  • JJ Lee, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son and a Suit
  • Madeline Sonik, Afflictions & Departures: Essays
2013 Andrew Preston, Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy[4]
  • Carol Bishop-Gwyn, The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franca
  • Tim Cook, Warlords: Borden, Mackenzie King, and Canada’s World Wars
  • Sandra Djwa, Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page
  • Ross King, Leonardo and The Last Supper
2014[5] Thomas King, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America[6]
  • Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Country
  • J. B. MacKinnon, The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be
  • Graeme Smith, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
  • David Stouck, Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life
2015 Plum Johnson, They Left Us Everything[7]
  • David O'Keefe, One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada’s Tragedy at Dieppe
  • Barbara Taylor, The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times
  • M. G. Vassanji, And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa
  • Kathleen Winter, Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage
2016[8] Rosemary Sullivan, Stalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva[9]
  • Ian Brown, Sixty: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning?
  • Camilla Gibb, This Is Happy
  • David Halton, Dispatches from the Front: The Life of Matthew Halton, Canada’s Voice at War
  • Wab Kinew, The Reason You Walk
2017[10] Ross King, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies[11]
  • Max Eisen, By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz
  • Matti Friedman, Pumpkinflowers: A Soldier’s Story
  • Marc Raboy, Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World
  • Diane Schoemperlen, This Is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications
2018[12] Tanya Talaga, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
  • Stephen R. Bown, Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska
  • Daniel Coleman, Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place
  • James Maskalyk, Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine
  • Max Wallace, In the Name of Humanity
2019[13][14] Kate Harris, Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Roads
2020[15] Mark Bourrie, Bush Runner

RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award[edit]

The RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award was instituted for the first time in 2014. The award is presented to an emerging writer selected by the winner of that year's primary award, and consists of $10,000 and a mentorship from the writer who made the selection.

In 2018, the RBC Taylor Foundation also announced the creation of a mentorship program for writers who have not yet published their first non-fiction manuscript. Five writers will be selected for the mentorship each year, each receiving mentorship from one of the shortlisted main prize authors.[16]


  1. ^ "RBC Taylor Prize Concludes" (PDF). rbctaylorprize.ca. November 21, 2019. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Charles Taylor Prize now known as RBC Taylor Prize; adds secondary award" Archived 2014-10-16 at the Wayback Machine. Victoria Times Colonist, December 9, 2013.
  3. ^ Jane van Koeverden, "RBC Taylor Prize, an annual $30K Canadian nonfiction prize, is ending after 2020". CBC Books, November 21, 2019.
  4. ^ "Andrew Preston takes Charles Taylor Non-Fiction Prize". Toronto Star, March 4, 2013.
  5. ^ "Five authors vie for prestigious $25,000 Taylor Prize". The Globe and Mail, January 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Thomas King wins $25K RBC Taylor Prize for non-fiction". CBC News, March 10, 2014.
  7. ^ "Plum Johnson wins the RBC Taylor Prize for non-fiction". The Globe and Mail, March 2, 2015.
  8. ^ "RBC Taylor Prize short list stacked with ‘searingly honest’ personal tales". Toronto Star, January 13, 2016.
  9. ^ "Rosemary Sullivan wins RBC Taylor Prize". The Globe and Mail, March 7, 2016.
  10. ^ "RBC Taylor Prize finalists: Ross King shortlisted for fourth time". The Globe and Mail, January 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Ross King wins $25,000 RBC Taylor Prize for ‘Mad Enchantment’". Toronto Star, March 6, 2017.
  12. ^ "The Star’s Tanya Talaga shortlisted for RBC Taylor book prize". Toronto Star, January 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Finalists for RBC Taylor Prize announced". Toronto Star, January 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Balser, Erin (2019-03-04). "Kate Harris wins $30K RBC Taylor Prize for travel memoir Lands of Lost Borders | CBC Books". CBC. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  15. ^ Deborah Dundas, "Winner of last RBC Taylor prize chokes back tears: ‘I wondered if anybody cared about what I wrote’". Toronto Star, March 2, 2020.
  16. ^ "New Mentorship Program announced for Emerging Writers". Canada NewsWire, February 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "Writer, scholar, storyteller and First Nations activist Leanne Simpson named recipient of inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award". CNW Group, March 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Iain Reid wins $10K RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award". CBC Books, May 11, 2015.
  19. ^ "Awards: Adnan Khan receives RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award". Quill & Quire, May 17, 2016.
  20. ^ "Saskatchewan’s Cassi Smith wins $10,000 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award". The Globe and Mail, April 19, 2017.
  21. ^ "Alicia Elliott wins RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award". The Globe and Mail, May 3, 2018.
  22. ^ "Jessica J. Lee wins $10K RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award". CBC Books, April 16, 2019.
  23. ^ Samraweet Yohannes (2020-03-18). "Simone Dalton wins $10K RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award". CBC Books. Retrieved 2020-07-25.

External links[edit]