News and Interviews

RBC Taylor Prize Shortlist announced, featuring Tanya Talaga and James Maskalyk

Noreen Taylor

This morning in Toronto, one of the most prestigious non-fiction prizes in Canada announced their 2018 shortlist. The 2018 jurors — Christine Elliott, Anne Giardini, and James Polk — announced the five finalists for the seventeenth RBC Taylor Prize, whittling down from the ten-title longlist.

RBC Taylor Prize 2018 Shortlist:

  • Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering's Great Voyage to Alaska by Stephen R. Bown (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place by Daniel Coleman (Wolsak and Wynn)
  • Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine by James Maskalyk (Doubleday Canada)
  • Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City, by Tanya Talaga (House of Anansi Press) 
  • In the Name of Humanity by Max Wallace (Allen Lane Canada)

The list features two books that have already attracted prize attention: James Maskalyk's Life on the Ground Floor (which won the Weston Nonfiction Prize) and Tanya Talaga's Seven Fallen Feathers, which was nominated for both the Weston and the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-fiction. 

The 17th annual prize, which includes a $30,000 prize purse for the winner, will be awarded Monday, February 26, 2018 at a gala luncheon. Each of the remaining finalists will receive $5,000. 

The prize also features a unique aspect, known as RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Award, which invites the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize to name an emerging writer of their choice based on literary merit, who will be presented with their own $10,000 award. The emerging writers award is now in its fifth year, and the emerging writer winner will be named shortly after the RBC Taylor Prize winner is chosen. 

For non-fiction buffs, the finalists will participate in two public events: a free 90-minute Round Table Discussion with the shortlisted authors in the Lillian Smith Library on February 22, 2018 at 7pm (presented by the Toronto Public Library and the IFOA) and the Ben McNally Authors Brunch on Sunday February 25, 2018, at the Omni King Edward Hotel in downtown Toronto (for tickets, please contact Ben McNally Books at (416) 361-0032 or visit 

(photo of RBC Taylor Prize founder Noreen Taylor courtesy of the Charles Taylor Foundation)