Plum Johnson Wins the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for They Left Us Everything

 

TORONTO, March 2, 2015 /CNW/ - The Winner of the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize is Plum Johnson, author of They Left Us Everything, published by Penguin Canada. The $25,000 award was announced today in Toronto by Prize founder and Chair Noreen Taylor during a gala luncheon celebrating this year's finalists. This was the 14th awarding of the country's most prestigious prize for literary non-fiction.

Of the book, the jury notes: "[The story is] beautifully observed and written with great warmth and wit. They Left Us Everything is an absorbing memoir of grief, growth, and decluttering. Plum Johnson must deal not merely with the legacy of her difficult, ill-matched parents, but is handed the burden of disposing of the seemingly endless contents of their 23-room Lake Ontario home, which becomes a character on its own in the telling. The task, which she initially thinks manageable, proves Herculean, far more complex than she'd imagined, involving understanding her past and packing up its contents, both literal and metaphorical. A story of love, loss, and legacy, written with compassion and humour, it subtly evokes T.S. Eliot's lines: "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."

Plum Johnson is an award-winning author, artist, and entrepreneur. She was the founder of KidsCanada Publishing Corp., publisher of KidsToronto, and co-founder of Help's Here! resource magazine for seniors and caregivers. The author lives in Toronto where she paints and is working on her next book.

The five finalists for the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize were: Plum Johnson (Toronto, Ontario) for They Left Us Everything, published by Penguin Canada; David O'Keefe (Montreal, Quebec) for One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy at Dieppe, published by Random House Canada; Barbara Taylor (London, England) for The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness In Our Times, published by Hamish Hamilton Canada; M.G. Vassanji (Toronto, Ontario) for And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa, published by Doubleday Canada; and Kathleen Winter (Montreal, Quebec) for Boundless, published by House of Anansi Press.

Presenting partner RBC Wealth Management will host Plum Johnson on a speaking tour of selected Canadian cities.

The jurors for the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize are: Kevin Garland, former executive director of the National Ballet of Canada; Martin Levin, editor, columnist, and playwright; and Andrew Preston, winner of the 2013 RBC Taylor Prize, editor, and lecturer. Diverse and accomplished, this year's decision-making team approached their reading list with skill to determine the best works of literary non-fiction for this the 14th awarding of the prestigious Prize.

"This is a prize that pushes non-fiction boundaries," commented Noreen Taylor. "Each year the winner sets the bar higher and higher for standards of excellence in the field of a unique Canadian non-fiction genre."

The 2015 RBC Taylor Prize also includes its second annual Emerging Writers Award, which is to be given to a promising Canadian author of non-fiction selected by the winner of the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize. The recipient of the Emerging Writers Award will receive $10,000 and the opportunity to be mentored under the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize winner. The second annual winner of the Emerging Writers Award will be announced later this month.

"On behalf of RBC Wealth Management, congratulations to Plum Johnson for this outstanding achievement" said Vijay Parmar, president of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel. "We are proud of our ongoing commitment to supporting talented Canadian authors and their passion for literary excellence through the RBC Taylor Prize. Presented annually to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception, the RBC Taylor Prize recognizes excellence in Canadian non-fiction writing and emphasizes the development of the careers of the authors it celebrates. Since its inception as The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the Prize has helped engage Canadians in literary non-fiction and boost sales of its finalists' books."

About the RBC Taylor Prize:
The RBC Taylor Prize is awarded annually to the author whose book best combines an excellent command of the English language, an elegance of style, quality of thought, and subtlety of perception. The Prize consists of $25,000 for the winning author and $2,000 for each of the runners-up. 

The Emerging Writer's award was established in 2013 to provide recognition and assistance to a Canadian published author who is working on a significant writing project, preferably but not limited to literary non-fiction. Through mentorship from the nominating author, and a $10,000 cash award, it is intended that the writer will be able to progress toward the creation of a first draft work. 

The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are: Michael Bradley (Toronto), Vijay Parmar (Toronto), David Staines (Ottawa), and Noreen Taylor (Toronto).

The presenting sponsor of the RBC Taylor Prize is RBC Wealth Management, its major sponsor is Metropia, its media sponsors are The Globe and Mail (exclusive newspaper sponsor), CNW Group, The Huffington Post Canada, Maclean's magazine, and Quill & Quire magazine; its in-kind sponsors are Ben McNally Books, Event Source, International Festival of Authors (IFOA), The Omni King Edward Hotel, and The Toronto Library Board.

For more information visit: www.rbctaylorprize.ca. For more information about the finalists visit www.rbctaylorprize.ca/2015/finalists_15.asp. Visit RBC Taylor Prize on Twitter at www.twitter.com/taylorprize. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RBCTaylorPrize.

To download high-resolution images of our 2015 winner, the jury, finalists, and all shortlisted titles, please go to www.rbctaylorprize.ca/2015/photogallery_15.asp

SOURCE RBC Taylor Prize

Video with caption: "Video: Plum Johnson Wins the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for They Left Us Everything". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150302_C8712_VIDEO_EN_12757.mp4&posterurl=http%3A%2F%2Fphotos.newswire.ca%2Fimages%2F20150302_C8712_VIDEO_EN_12757.jpg&order=1&jdd=20150302&cnum=C8712

Video with caption: "Video: Free B Roll available for download - Plum Johnson Wins the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize for They Left Us Everything". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150302_C8712_VIDEO_EN_12758.mp4&posterurl=http%3A%2F%2Fphotos.newswire.ca%2Fimages%2F20150302_C8712_VIDEO_EN_12758.jpg&order=2&jdd=20150302&cnum=C8712

Image with caption: "Taylor Prize winner 2015 Plum Johnson and Noreen Taylor, founder RBC Taylor Prize - Photo Tom Sandler (CNW Group/RBC Taylor Prize)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150302_C8712_PHOTO_EN_12734.jpg

Image with caption: "2015 RBC Taylor Prize winner Plum Johnson - Photo Tom Sandler (CNW Group/RBC Taylor Prize)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150302_C8712_PHOTO_EN_12735.jpg

For further information: Media contact: Stephen Weir & Associates; Stephen Weir: 416.489.5868 | cell: 416.801.3101 | stephen@stephenweir.com


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