THE LONGLIST FOR THE SEVENTEENTH RBC TAYLOR PRIZE



JURY CITATIONS
Stephen R. Bown, Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska, Douglas and McIntyre
Cartographer and explorer Vitus Bering ended his life on a barren Aleutian island while his shipwrecked crewmates fought off vicious blue foxes, the elements and scurvy. The hardships and privations of the explorers, scientists, labourers and horses sent across Russia by Peter the Great to seek a route to North America beggar the imagination. They built their own roads, ships and a new kind of social order, and made enduring discoveries, all in the teeth of monstrous winds, seas, storms, bureaucracy - and hungry little foxes.
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Mandy Len Catron, How to Fall in Love with Anyone, Simon and Schuster
This is a book about our fundamental drive to love and be loved. Catron set out to write a book about the mysterious art of making love last, but her objective shifted in the writing to something deeper, richer and more enduring – like the best kind of marriage. This is a deft, light story about the many forms that love takes, about how to live a full and happy life albeit with fewer expectations about love, and about the ways in which love “is continually warped and renewed”.
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Daniel Coleman, Yard Work: A Biography of an Urban Place, Wolsak & Wynn Publishers
Daniel Coleman explores the world from a small patch of land at the back of his house, a mini-empire between Coote’s Paradise Marsh and Hamilton Harbour. In vivid, exacting prose, Coleman tells us of the moods and beauty of the Niagara Escarpment, the paths of local animals, the wayward tricks of the water table, the rich indigenous history of the area, and of our modern inroads into the environment – highways, houses, slag and built culture. This is a masterpiece of nature writing, reimagining civics and possibilities as Coleman surveys what he understands is “a holy land right here” behind his house and beneath his feet.”.
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Mohammed Fahmy with Carol Shaben, The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey From Cairo’s Scorpion Prison to Freedom, Random House Canada
In December 2013, Egyptian security raided the Marriott Hotel and tossed journalist Mohammed Fahmy and his colleagues into Cairo’s dreaded Scorpion Prison. The trumped-up charge was terrorism. Courageous efforts to free Fahmy were led by his wife and friends (including legal counsel Amal Clooney) in an account that reads like a John le Carré novel, but Fahmy and Shaben go further, delving into the causes of Egypt’s political upheaval, the wishes and needs of everyday citizens, and the harsh reality of threats to journalists, activists and others. In the midst of terror and pain, Fahmy never fails to notice the humanity of his jailers, cellmates, police and others. This book sheds light on tyranny everywhere.
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Michael Harris, Solitude, Doubleday Canada
In this beautifully wrought and engrossing meditation, Michael Harris observes how hard it is to find solitude in our buzzing, interconnected world. Silence can nourish mind and soul. Solitude is the provenance of seers and saints, and stillness a requirement for creative achievement. Harris cuts himself off for a week at a remote cabin and after a period of fear and boredom sees anew how truly we are shackled by “all that clicking and sharing and liking and posting.” His return to the noisy world is softened by wisdom and love.
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James Maskalyk, Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine, Doubleday Canada
Starting with A is for Airway, physician and humanitarian James Maskalyk leads us through the many ways in which our bodies sustain and fail us, and how we become better able to tend – and attend – to each other. This book is a study in contrasts. Medicine as practiced in a world-class Toronto hospital – and at bare bones clinics in Sudan and Ethiopia. Maskalyk’s busy life as a healer in a Canadian city and in Africa – and his grandfather’s quiet work on a farm and trapline. For Maskalyk, “Medicine is life caring for itself” and is “the greatest story.”
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Adam Shoalts, A History in Canada in Ten Maps: Epic Stories of Charting A Mysterious Land, Allen Lane
This book helps us answer Northrop Frye’s famous question about Canada: “Where is here?” From a 16th Century Viking chart of Canada’s East Coast; to Champlain’s detailed drawings of New France including peaceful indigenous villages; to wishful visions of yet-to-be-discovered lakes, mountains and the elusive northern passage, this is a fresh approach to some of the many ways in which the brave, foolish, reckless and hopeful have tried to place Canada on the map.”
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Tanya Talaga, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, And Hard Truths in A Northern City, House of Anansi Press
Talaga has written Canada’s J’Accuse, an open letter to the rest of us about the many ways we contribute – through act or inaction – to suicides and damaged existences in Canada’s indigenous communities. Tanya Talaga’s account of teen lives and deaths in and near Thunder Bay is detailed, balanced and heart-rending. Talaga describes gaps in the system large enough for beloved children and adults to fall through, endemic indifference, casual racism and a persistent lack of resources. It is impossible to read this book and come away unchanged.
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Max Wallace, In the Name of Humanity: The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust, Allen Lane
As World War II drew to an end, Hitler intended further mass slaughter while other Nazi leaders scrambled to cover up evidence of genocide. Max Wallace’s gripping account of the tense endgame of the Nazi nightmare is told in meticulous detail and with great compassion, culminating in the astonishing story of a Jewish freedom fighter bargaining for the salvation of the survivors with the devil himself, the architect of the killing camps, Heinrich Himmler.
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Jan Wong, Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy and China, Goose Lane
Jan Wong proves in this book that the old adage “you are what you eat” needs expanding. We are what we eat, and who we make it with, and who we eat it with, and what ingredients we use, and what recipes we follow, and where in the world our table is located. In this book Jan Wong focuses her laser beam scrutiny on domestic life and comestibles in three different countries, and delivers shrewd home truths on how we sustain and nourish ourselves.
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About the
2018 jury

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KEY
DATES


LONGLIST
FOR THE
2018 PRIZE
ANNOUNCED

Wednesday,
December 6,
2016

SHORTLIST
FOR THE
2018 PRIZE
ANNOUNCED

Wednesday,
January 10,
2018

BEN
MCNALLY’S
AUTHORS BRUNCH

Sunday,
February 25,
2018

WINNER
FOR THE
2018 PRIZE ANNOUNCED

Monday,
February 26,
2018