The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction Announces its 2009 Shortlist

    TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - This morning, at a press conference at Toronto's
Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, Noreen Taylor, prize founder and chair of the
Charles Taylor Foundation, announced that the jury - composed of author and
previous finalist Warren Cariou (Winnipeg), author and journalist Jeffrey
Simpson (Ottawa), and noted arts expert Shirley Thomson (Ottawa) - read 135
Canadian-authored books, submitted by 43 publishers from all across Canada.
Mrs. Taylor went on to introduce Mr. Simpson who made the following
announcement before an audience of publishers, media, and booksellers:


    Elizabeth Abbott for Sugar: A Bittersweet History, published by Penguin
    Group (Canada).

    The jury notes:

    "This panoramic narrative vividly evokes the pleasure and the
extraordinary suffering wrought by the desire for sugar from the Middle Ages
to the present. The author, whose great-great-grandfather was a bit-player in
the colonial sugar industry, shows how Europe's addiction to sweetness
contributed to the formation of global empires, the enslavement of entire
peoples, the creation of diasporas, and the destruction of the environment.
The result is a consummate work of synthesis that powerfully reveals how past
inequities continue to resonate in the present."

    Tim Cook for Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1917 - 1918,
    Volume Two, published by Viking Canada.

    The jury notes:

    "With tremendous detail and almost unstoppable narrative momentum, this
book gives a harrowing account of a pivotal moment in world history that would
transform Canada's idea of itself. By shifting focus between grand strategy
and on-the-ground struggle, Tim Cook creates a kaleidoscopic story that
reveals the difficult relationships that formed among politicians, commanders
and ordinary soldiers in their attempts to prepare for, and execute, a series
of near-impossible missions. Through these stories of horror and heroism, what
shines through most brilliantly is the complex humanity of the characters."

    Ana Siljak for Angel of Vengeance: The "Girl Assassin," the Governor of
    St. Petersburg, and Russia's Revolutionary World, published by St.
    Martin's Press.

    The jury notes:

    "Ranging from the courts of St. Petersburg to peasant huts, this
meticulously-researched book tells the dramatic and little-known story of one
woman's act of political desperation and her very public trial. It is also a
much broader portrait of ideological struggles in nineteenth-century Russia,
revealing the devastating conflict between a society that could not find a way
to change and those who demanded that it must. The author provides added
contemporary resonance to the story by masterfully penetrating the minds of

    The prestigious Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction recognizes
excellence in Canadian non-fiction writing. Since its inception the prize has
fostered a growing interest in non-fiction, engaged Canadians in the genre of
literary non-fiction and boosted sales of the winning authors' books.
    Founded in commemoration of the late Charles Taylor, one of Canada's
foremost essayists and a prominent member of the Canadian literary community,
the prize is awarded 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.
    All of the 2009 prize finalists will be in Toronto on Sunday, February 8,
2009, at Le Meridien King Edward Hotel to speak about their writing at a
special instalment of the Globe and Mail/Ben McNally Books brunch series
event. They will subsequently be honoured at a Gala Luncheon and Awards
Ceremony the following day.
    The winner of the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction will
be announced on Monday, February 9, 2009, as part of a two-hour live broadcast
of CBC Radio One's Ontario Today with host Rita Celli, beginning at 12:00
noon. To listen via the internet go to and click on
"Listen Live."
    The prize consists of $25,000 for the winning author and $2,000 for each
of the runners-up, as well as promotional and publicity support to help all of
the shortlisted books stand out in the national media, bookstores, and
    The Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction is presented by the
Charles Taylor Foundation with the generous support of its partners: AVFX, Ben
McNally Books, Bravo! and BookTelevision, Canada Newswire (CNW), CBC Radio
One, Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, Quill & Quire, The Globe and Mail, and
Windfields Farm.

    To download high-resolution images of the jury, finalists, and
shortlisted titles, please go to:

    For more information please visit:

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Stephen Weir & Associates:
Stephen Weir: (416) 489-5868, cell: (416) 801-3101,;
Linda Crane: (905) 257-6033, cell: (416) 727-0112,

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