RECOGNISING THE IMPORTANCE of Canada’s non-fiction writers, the RBC Taylor Prize has matched this year’s shortlisted authors with five of the top emerging voices in the genre of literary non-fiction, from writing programs across the country.
     The five participants are:

Martin Bauman — University of Victoria
MENTOR: Timothy Winegard
Martin Bauman is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. As host of the Story Untold Podcast, he has interviewed some of Canada's most notable figures, including Rick Hansen and Juno Award-winner Shad. A passionate speaker and mental health advocate, Bauman has been a youth panelist for the Canada-wide Spotlight on Invisible Disabilities Partnership and bicycled solo across Canada to raise funds for services in his hometown of Waterloo, ON. He is writing a memoir about men, depression, and the ways they cope with trauma – told through the 7,000 kilometres he spent on the road.

Sheima Benembarek — Dalhousie University / King’s College
MENTOR: Robyn Doolittle
Sheima Benembarek is a Moroccan-Canadian writer and a magazine publishing professional. She has a Centennial College graduate degree in publishing and is completing a University of King’s College MFA in creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in the Literary Review of Canada, This, Maisonneuve, Torontoist, and Broadview. She writes about immigrant narratives and intersectional feminism. Her book, Unveiling, is a collection of accounts about the experiences of Muslim women reconciling sexual freedoms and Islam in North America. Are these women truly living in a country that separates church from state or have religious restrictions immigrated along with the community? Unveiling investigates this question.

Kate Black — University of British Columbia
MENTOR: Ziya Tong
Kate Black's literary journalism has appeared in Eighteen Bridges, Glass Buffalo, New Trail and Maisonneuve, and has won an Alberta Magazine Award. Originally from St. Albert, AB, she now lives in Vancouver, BC. She's completing an MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia, where she’s writing a short story collection. During the RBC Taylor Prize mentorship program, Kate will be working on a series of essays exploring the social history of West Edmonton Mall and coming of age in suburban Alberta.

Simone Dalton — University of Guelph
MENTOR: Mark Bourrie
Simone Dalton is a writer born in Trinidad-Tobago. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph, where she received the Constance Rooke and Board of Graduate Studies Research Scholarships. Named by Room Magazine in 2018 as one of the “20 Black Writers to Read All Year Round,” her work has been published in The Unpublished City: Volume I, a 2018 Toronto Book Awards finalist, and in the anthology, Black Writers Matter. In 2019, her inaugural short play, VOWS, debuted at Soulpepper as part of RARE Theatre's production, Welcome to My Underworld. She is now working on her first memoir.

Gillian Grant — Humber College
MENTOR: Jessica McDiarmid
Gillian Grant completed the Humber School for Writers Graduate Certificate in Creative Non-Fiction with a Letter of Distinction in 2019. She was the featured student writer in the Black Box Session: Humber School for Writers, Love & Defiance Podcast at the Toronto International Festival of Authors in 2019. She has had a long career as a broadcast journalist including Mind, Body & Spirit on WTN, The Health Show and Living in Toronto, both on CBC TV. Gillian is currently working on her memoir: Living without Knowing. Life with cancer and the unexpected healing from a First Nations Leader. She lives in Toronto.