Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Plum Johnson Captures the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction

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Plum Johnson

A memoir of caring for loving but difficult parents has captured the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction. Plum Johnson's They Left Us Everything (Penguin Canada) has been called "a slim, unassuming memoir that hits you deep in the gut, leaving you bruised and thoughtful long after its last page" (Angela Hickman, National Post).

The prize was announced today at a luncheon at Toronto's historic King Edward Hotel. After jurors Kevin Garland, Martin Levin and Andrew Preston spoke, each of the finalists was briefly interviewed on stage. Johnson was a vibrant presence, joking that her late mother, who is such a strong presence in the book, was "up there" with prize namesake Charles Taylor, discussing his book, Reporter in Red China, which Johnson's mother had admired. Upon taking the stage again to accept her prize, Johnson seemed delighted but surprised, saying "I didn't prepare anything".

In the coming weeks, Johnson will be invited to nominate an up-and-coming writer for the $10,000 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer’s Award, introduced last year as part of the prize's mission to encourage the continued development of great Canadian non-fiction writing.

The RBC Taylor Prize was founded by Noreen Taylor to honour her late husband, Charles Taylor, an acclaimed journalist and non-fiction writer.

Also nominated for the 2015 prize were:

  • David O'Keefe for One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy at Dieppe (Vintage Canada)
  • Barbara Taylor for The Last Asylum: A Memoir Of Madness In Our Times (Hamish Hamilton Canada)
  • M. G. Vassanji for And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa (Anchor Canada)
  • Kathleen Winter for Boundless (House of Anansi)
  • Each finalist will receive $2,000.

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