VIDEO: Leanne Betasmosake Simpson is the first winner of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award
TORONTO, March 17, 2014 /CNW/ - Leanne Simpson, a writer, scholar, storyteller and activist for Indigenous Peoples has
been named the recipient of the inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Ms. Simpson was nominated for the Award by Thomas King whose book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North
America won the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize. Established jointly by RBC and the
Taylor Prize to promote emerging talent in non-fiction, the RBC Taylor
Emerging Writer Award consists of a $10,000 cash prize, as well as the
opportunity to be mentored by the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize winner.
"For me, Leanne Simpson was an obvious choice," said Thomas King. "She
is a gifted writer who brings passion and commitment to her
storytelling and who has demonstrated an uncommon ability to manage an
impressive range of genres from traditional storytelling to critical
analysis, from poetry to the spoken word, from literary and social
activism to song-writing. She is, in my opinion, one of the more
articulate and engaged voices of her generation."
Leanne Simpson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and is an
instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca
University. She has published over thirty scholarly articles and
authored five books that draw upon her extensive knowledge of
Indigenous Peoples. She has also written articles for Canadian
magazines and newspapers. In 2012 she won Briarpatch Magazine's Writing from the Margins competition for short fiction.
Ms. Simpson is a member of the Alderville First Nation (Rice Lake,
Ontario). For the past 15 years, she has worked with Indigenous
communities and organizations in Canada and internationally on
environmental, governance and political issues. Her third book, Dancing On Our Turtle's Back (AK Press) stresses the importance of illuminating indigenous
intellectual traditions in order to transfer that relationship to the
"Thomas King is a gifted writer, performer, story-teller and one of my
biggest influences," said Leanne. "His impact on my generation of
Indigenous artists and writers is profound and I will be forever
grateful to him for his brilliant body of work. His work lifts
Indigenous peoples up, he makes us laugh out loud, and most
importantly, he speaks our truths. With this award I can continue the
work I started in Dancing on Our Turtle's Back, and along with many others, move towards creating a just relationship
between Indigenous nations and Canada."
"I am so pleased that Thomas King selected Leanne Simpson to be the
first recipient of the RBC Emerging Writer Award," said RBC Taylor
Prize Foundation Chair, Noreen Taylor, "Mr. King has worked with Ms.
Simpson in the past and has developed an evident regard for this
talented individual. It is exciting to consider how this writer, with
known strengths in other forms of storytelling, will find new creative
strengths and develop new vehicles of communication as she ventures
into the heady challenge of non-fiction writing."
"RBC Wealth Management is proud to support the new Emerging Writer Award
and the wonderful opportunity it provides aspiring Canadian authors,"
Vijay Parmar, President, RBC PH&N Investment Counsel said. "Thomas
couldn't have selected a more deserving winner in Leanne Simpson. We
believe this kind of artist-to-artist mentorship is simply invaluable,
and key to cultivating Canada's new generation of writers."
The RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award was established 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 the cash award, it is intended that the writer will be able to
progress toward the creation of a first draft.
The Trustees of the Charles Taylor Prize Foundation are Michael Bradley
(Toronto), David Staines (Ottawa), and Noreen Taylor (Toronto). The
Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of RBC Wealth Management
as its presenting sponsor; along with its major sponsor Metropia; and
greatly appreciates the support of its media sponsors The Globe and Mail, Maclean's magazine, CNW Group, The Huffington Post Canada, Global Television, Quill & Quire magazine, and CBC.ca; and in-kind sponsors: Ben McNally Books, Event
Source, IFOA and The Omni King Edward Hotel.
Biography: Leanne Simpson
Leanne Simpson is a member of Alderville First Nation, with Michi
Saagiig Nishnaabeg ancestry. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of
Manitoba, and is an instructor in Indigenous Studies, Athabasca and
Trent Universities. She has lectured at universities across Canada, and
published over thirty scholarly articles. She has written for Now Magazine, Spirit Magazine, Anishinabek News, Canadian Art Magazine, Geist and many others and in 2012 won BriarpatchMagazine's Writing from the Margins competition for short fiction.
She has authored five books, including Dancing on Our Turtle's Back: Stories of Nishnaabeg Re-Creation,
Resurgence and a New Emergence, which she hopes will inspire the regeneration Nishnaabeg systems of
governance, language, and knowledge that place women back at the centre
of Kina Gchi Nishnaabeg‐ogaming.
For the past 15 years, Dr. Simpson has worked with Indigenous
communities and organizations in Canada and internationally on
environmental, governance and political issues. Most recently, she
released her first book of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love from ARP Books accompanied by a spoken word album. As traditional story-teller and
spoken word artist, she has performed at festivals and numerous
story-telling events including the Asinabka Indigenous Film and Media Festival. She is currently the co-director of Wii-Kendimiing Nishinaabemowin
Saswaansing, a language nest for Nishnaabeg families and is a member of
O'Kaadenigan Wiingashk artist collective.
For further information please visit: www.thecharlestaylorprize.ca
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Video with caption: "VIDEO: Leanne Betasmosake Simpson is the first winner of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award". Video available at: http://youtu.be/86vxM6kIsR0
Image with caption: "Leanne Simpson - RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award Winner (CNW Group/RBC Taylor Prize)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140318_C5664_PHOTO_EN_38036.jpg
SOURCE: RBC Taylor Prize
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