Wednesday, January 28, 2015
RBC Taylor Prize for Nonfiction
For fans of non-fiction, it doesn't get much better than the RBC Talyor Prize for Non-fiction. These titles represent the best of Canadian non-fiction writing in the previous year.
The nominees for the 2015 prize are:
They Left Us Everything by Plum Johnson
"After almost twenty years of caring for elderly parents—first for their senile father, and then for their cantankerous ninety-three-year-old mother—author Plum Johnson and her three younger brothers experience conflicted feelings of grief and relief when their mother, the surviving parent, dies. Now they must empty and sell the beloved family home, which hasn’t been de-cluttered in more than half a century. Twenty-three rooms bulge with history, antiques, and oxygen tanks. Plum remembers her loving but difficult parents who could not have been more different: the British father, a handsome, disciplined patriarch who nonetheless could not control his opinionated, extroverted Southern-belle wife who loved tennis and gin gimlets." publisher
One Day in August: the untold story behind Canada's tragedy at Dieppe by David O'Keefe
"Magnificent and engrossing, One Day in August reveals in full for the first time the “Ultra Secret” story behind one of WW2’s most controversial mysteries—and one of Canada’s most sorrowful moments. In a narrative as powerful and moving as it is authoritative, David O’Keefe rewrites history, connecting Canada’s tragedy at Dieppe with an extraordinary and colourful cast of characters—from the young Commander Ian Fleming, later to become the creator of the James Bond novels, and his team of crack commandos to the code-breaking scientists of Bletchley Park (the closely guarded heart of Britain’s wartime Intelligence and code-breaking work) to those responsible for the planning and conduct of the Dieppe Raid—Admiral John Godfrey, Lord Louis Mountbatten, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and others." publisher
The Last Asylum: a memoir of madness in our times by Barbara Taylor
"In July 1988, Canadian-born historian Barbara Taylor was admitted to Friern Hospital, a once-notorious asylum for the insane. Her journey there began when, overwhelmed by anxiety as she completed her doctoral studies in London, England, she found relief by dosing herself with alcohol and tranquillizers. She then embarked on what would turn out to be a decades-long psychoanalysis. The analysis dredged up acutely painful memories of an unhappy and confusing childhood back in Saskatoon. As Taylor struggled to cope with these, she would twice be re-admitted to Friern. She took refuge in day-care institutions and a psychiatric hostel, all the while continuing her therapy, which eventually put her on the road to recovery. This searingly honest, beautifully written memoir is the narrative of the author’s madness years, set inside the wider story of our treatment of psychiatric illness: from the great age of asylums to the current era of community care, ‘Big Pharma’, and quick fixes." publisher
And Home was Kariakoo: a memoir of East Africa by M.G. Vassanji
"From M.G. Vassanji, two-time Giller Prize winner and a GG winner for nonfiction, comes a poignant love letter to his birthplace and homeland, East Africa--a powerful and surprising portrait that only an insider could write. Part travelogue, part memoir, and part history-rarely-told, here is a powerful and timely portrait of a constantly evolving land. From a description of Zanzibar and its evolution to a visit to a slave-market town at Lake Tanganyika; from an encounter with a witchdoctor in an old coastal village to memories of his own childhood in the streets of Dar es Salaam and the suburbs of Nairobi, Vassanji combines brilliant prose, thoughtful and candid observation, and a lifetime of revisiting and reassessing the continent that molded him--and, as we discover when we follow the journeys that became this book, shapes him still." publisher
Boundless: tracing land and dream in a Northwest Passage by Kathleen Winter
"The long-awaited follow up to Annabel and Kathleen Winter's first work of narrative nonfiction. In 2010, bestselling author Kathleen Winter took a journey across the storied Northwest Passage, among marine scientists, historians, archaeologists, anthropologists, and curious passengers. From Greenland to Baffin Island and all along the passage, Winter bears witness to the new math of the melting North -- where polar bears mate with grizzlies, creating a new hybrid species; where the earth is on the cusp of yielding so much buried treasure that five nations stand poised to claim sovereignty of the land; and where the local Inuit population struggles to navigate the tension between taking part in the new global economy and defending their traditional way of life." publisher
The winner will be announced on March 2.