RBC Taylor Prize
Leanne Simpson wins RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award
Writer, scholar, storyteller and First Nations activist Leanne Simpson has been named the recipient of the inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. She wins a $10,000 cash prize and the opportunity to be mentored by the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize winner, Thomas King.
"When you hear a story in our tradition,
it comes with a responsibility."
— Leanne Simpson
Thomas King, whose book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America won the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize, nominated Leanne for the award. “For me, Leanne Simpson was an obvious choice,” said 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.”
And the love was reciprocal. “Thomas King is a gifted writer, performer, story-teller and one of my biggest influences,” said Simpson. “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.”
Leanne Simpson is originally from the Alderville First Nation on the south side of Rice Lake, Ontario. She holds a PhD from the University of Manitoba, has published over thirty scholarly articles and written five books. In 2012 she won Briarpatch Magazine’s Writing in the Margins competition for short fiction. Read her winning entry here.
Leanne Simpson on "The Next Chapter"
Last fall, Shelagh Rogers of CBC Radio One's The Next Chapter spoke with both Thomas King and Leanne Simpson on stage at the Kingston WritersFest. In front of a live audience, they spoke about the importance of storytelling in indigenous culture: its humour, its role as a force of resistance, and as a tool of reconciliation.
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