RBC Taylor Prize Winner Rosemary Sullivan Receives American Plutarch Award for Biography

TORONTO, June 20, 2016 /CNW/ - Winner of the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize, the 2016 BC National Book Award for Canadian Nonfiction, and the 2015 Hilary Weston Prize, Rosemary Sullivan has just been announced as the first Canadian winner of the American Plutarch Award for Biography for her magnificent and sweeping book Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, published by HarperCollins Publishers and sold in 21 countries.

Given by biographers for biographers, the Plutarch Award began in 2013 and is named after the famous biographer of Ancient Greece. The winner is determined by secret ballot from a formal list of nominees selected by a committee of distinguished members of the craft.

"This is a big, big honour for biographers," said Rosemary Sullivan, its first Canadian winner, who attended the ceremony and received her award at the seventh annual BIO Conference, held in Richmond, Virginia, June 3 – 5, 2016. Videos of the conference can be found at this link: http://biographersinternational.org/conference-2/

The full list of nominees is as follows:

  • Emily Bingham, Irrepressible: A Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Betty Boyd Caroli, Lady Bird and Lyndon: The Hidden Story of a Marriage (Simon & Schuster)
  • Cathy Curtis, Restless Ambition: Grace Hartigan, Painter (Oxford)
  • Irwin F. Gellman, The President and the Apprentice: Eisenhower and Nixon 1952-1961 (Yale)
  • Peter Guralnick, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll (Little, Brown)
  • Anne Heller, Hannah Arendt: A Life in Dark Times (New Harvest)
  • Jay Parini, Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal (Doubleday)
  • Sonia Purnell, Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill (Viking)
  • T.J. Stiles, Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America (Knopf)

Winner:  Rosemary Sullivan, Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva (HarperCollins)

Earlier this year, Rosemary Sullivan won Canada's prestigious RBC Taylor Prize. In its citation, the Jury noted:  "Combining exacting research with brilliant storytelling, Rosemary Sullivan tells us what it means to be the daughter of Joseph Stalin. As terrifying and mystifying as Stalin was to the Soviets and to the rest of the world, he was doubly so to Svetlana. The result for her was, of course, tragic. The achievement of Rosemary Sullivan's Stalin's Daughter is that in this portrait we see the inescapability of tyranny, when the tyrant's rule is not only political but also personal."

Rosemary Sullivan has written poetry, short fiction, biography, literary criticism, reviews, and articles, and has edited numerous anthologies. Her biography Shadow Maker: The Life of Gwendolyn MacEwan, won the Governor General's Award, the UBC President's Medal for Canadian Biography, and the Toronto Book Award. Her book Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille won the Helen and Stan Vine Annual Canadian Jewish Book Awards' Yad Vashem Award in Holocaust History. Her most recent book, Stalin's Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, won the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize, the 2016 BC National Book Award for Canadian Nonfiction, the 2015 Hilary Weston Prize, and the Plutarch Award for Biography and was named a finalist for the 2016 American PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography and the American National Books Critics Circle Award. An Officer of the Order of Canada, Rosemary Sullivan lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

SOURCE RBC Taylor Prize

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

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