RBC Taylor Prize, an annual $30K Canadian nonfiction prize, is ending after 2020

The final RBC Taylor Prize will be awarded on March 2, 2020.

The final prize will be awarded on March 2, 2020

Noreen Taylor founded the RBC Taylor Prize in honour of her late husband, Charles Taylor. (RBC Taylor Prize, Tom Sandler)

The final RBC Taylor Prize, an annual $30,000 Canadian nonfiction award, will be given out on March 2, 2020.

Established in 2000, the prize has become a staple of the Canadian literary scene.

Founder Noreen Taylor explained in a press release that "it became clear last year that we had achieved every goal."

Taylor created the prize in memory of her husband, Charles Taylor, a journalist and author of the books Six Journeys and Radical Tories. He died in 1997.

The late Taylor loved nonfiction writing and believed the genre was overlooked in Canada. The Taylor Prize was introduced to promote Canadian nonfiction writing to the public.

"While I know that there are huge changes on the horizon for writers, publishers, and the platforms they use to communicate their stories, I am confident that the current interest in well-written Canadian nonfiction will continue to sustain and engage its readership," said Taylor in a press release.

The inaugural Taylor Prize winner was Wayne Johnston for Baltimore's Mansion. Other former award winners include Carol Shields for Jane AustenCharles Foran for Mordecai: The Life & TimesAndrew Westoll for The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary, Thomas King for The Inconvenient Indian, Rosemary Sullivan for Stalin's Daughter and Tanya Talaga for Seven Fallen Feathers.

Last year's winner was Kate Harris for her travel memoir Lands of Lost Borders.

At $30,000, the RBC Taylor Prize is one of Canada's most lucrative annual prizes for a single work of nonfiction. Other prominent Canadian nonfiction prizes include the $25,000 Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction and the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

The winner of the RBC Taylor Prize also chooses the winner of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award, a $10,000 prize given to a published Canadian author who is early in their career and working on a new manuscript. The RBC Taylor Prize winner mentors the Emerging Writer Award recipient.

Since the award was originally given out biennually, the 2020 winner will be the prize's nineteenth recipient.

"When I started, we looked at potentially 35 books. There couldn't be a longlist. That's why it was initially every other year. Eventually, there were enough books being published to make it every year," Noreen Taylor told CBC in 2011. "We certainly gave the genre a leg up." 

Charles Taylor Prize for non-fiction

11 years ago
Duration 2:34
Noreen Taylor, the Chairman and founding voice of the Charles Taylor Prize talks about the renaissance of Non-Fiction and today's Charles Taylor Prize short list announcement.

The final panel of jurors is comprised of 2019 Booker Prize co-winner Margaret Atwood, British professor Coral Ann Howells and American translator Peter Theroux.

The jury will read 155 books and curate a longlist by Dec. 4, 2019.

The shortlist will be announced on Jan. 8, 2020, followed by the winner on March 2, 2020.



  • An earlier version of this story said the winner would receive $25,000. The prize increased to $30,000 in 2018.
    Dec 03, 2019 6:43 PM ET


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