Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Book Notes: Taylor prize to Mark Bourrie on Radisson

Yesterday the final Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Nonfiction was awarded to Mark Bourrie for Bush Runner, his biography of Pierre-Esprit Radisson, published by Windsor-based small press Biblioasis. It's nice to see the final prize go to a work of history and to a veteran writer of nonfiction. Bush Runner seemed to have done well and have good reviews all year -- I regret I have not read it.

Bush Runner is the final winner because the Taylor Prize has decided to wrap up its twenty-year run. No further awards will be given.  The Taylor is survived, you might say, by the GG in nonfiction, the BC Prize in Canadian Nonfiction, and the Writer's Trust Weston Prize for Nonfiction -- plus history book prizes many and various (see below).

I have been ambivalent about the Taylor in the past because its juries often seemed dominated by novelists and fiction critics, and the prizes often seemed to go to well known novelists dabbling in nonfiction. But it helped promote the genre and rewarded a lot of writers, so: vale.

In other prize news, the Champlain Society seeks nominations for its Chalmers Prize, given annually for the best book in Ontario history.  Deadline is April 30; deets here.  And, judging by my inbox notices, the Champlain Society podcast Witness to Yesterday, is just pouring out new content these days.

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