The Charles Taylor Prize 2013 shortlist

charles-taylor-logo-150.jpgThis annual award, named after Canadian journalist and author Charles Plunket Bourchier Taylor, recognizes excellence in English language literary non-fiction. You can explore this year's shortlisted books and authors.




The Pursuit of Perfection: The Life of Celia Franca

By Carol Bishop-Gwyn

About the book: As the daughter of working-class parents in 1920s London, England, Celia Franca's drive rather than birthright positioned her to help found the National Ballet of Canada. At 29, she was sought out and shipped to Canada for this purpose by wealthy ballet lovers in Toronto. The tenacious Franca ensured the company's early success after its launch. But the determined ballerina's personal life paid a high price for the company's success -- with three failed marriages and a lonely death.

Carol Bishop-Gwyn reads a passage from her biography of Celia Franca:

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As It Happens interview on The Pursuit of Perfection:

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Warlords: Borden, Mackenzie King and Canada's World Wars

By Tim Cook

About the book: Governing a nation throughout a war can define a politician's legacy. This is the case for two Canadian prime ministers, Sir Robert Borden and William Lyon Mackenzie King, who each ran the country during a world war. Warlords explores war through the eyes of the leaders whose decisions determined the course of history.

Tim Cook reads from Warlords:

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A feature interview with Tim Cook on As It Happens:

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Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page

By Sandra Djwa

About the book: The biography of P.K. Page, 20th-century poet and artist who inspired the likes of Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje, is a study in the people and moments that inspired her during her long, nearly 100-year life. There's her first love, poet F.R. Scott who -- while in an open marriage -- wooed Page. There's her aunt, whose gender prevented her from being awarded the Cambridge degree she otherwise earned. These experiences led Page to her artistic endeavours, including celebrated poetry, painting and short stories.

Sandra Djwa reads a passage from her biography of P.K. Page:

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As It Happens interview on Journey with No Maps:

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Leonardo and The Last Supper

By Ross King

About the book: Leonardo da Vinci's painting The Last Supper, spanning an incredible 450 square feet, came at a pivotal time in history and da Vinci's career. Ross King not only tells the story of the famous painting's creation, but also of its deterioration and restoration efforts, which left a work that is only 20 per cent da Vinci's and 80 per cent by the restorers.

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A reading from Leonardo and The Last Supper:

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Ross King tells As It Happens why he finds da Vinci such a fascinating figure:

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Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion in American War and Diplomacy

By Andrew Preston

About the book: Though America claims a distinct separation between church and state, for centuries its foreign policy has been -- at least partially -- dictated by religion. Andrew Preston shows how modern-day U.S. politicians, such as former president George W. Bush with his response to the Sept. 11 attacks, are simply following a historically path paved by former presidents who called on religion during times of war.

Andrew Preston talks politics on as It Happens:

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Andrew Preston reads from Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith:

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Q&A with Andrew Preston

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