Tanya Talaga shortlisted for $42K Nayef Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding

The British prize annual recognizes nonfiction books that promote "global cultural understanding."
Tanya Talaga wrote the 2018 Massey Lectures and accompanying book All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward, on the subject of youth suicide in Indigenous communities. (Steve Russell, CBC)

Ojibwe journalist and writer Tanya Talaga is on the shortlist for the Nayef-Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding for her book All Our Relations.

The £25,000 ($42,376.88 Cdn) prize annually recognizes a nonfiction book that promotes "global cultural understanding." It's organized by the British Academy.

All Our Relations — part of the 2018 Massey Lectures — investigated the alarming rise in youth suicides in Indigenous communities. The book is a call for action and justice for Indigenous communities and youth. The book was also based on Talaga's Atkinson Fellowship in Public Policy series, which she completed when she was working as an investigated journalist at the Toronto Star.

"Prompted by the shockingly high incidence of suicide among indigenous youth across Canada, this is a sharply presented analysis of the continuing impact of colonial policies of dispossession and genocide pursued against indigenous peoples across three continents. Tanya Talaga has produced a momentous piece of work," the judges said in a press statement. "It is a heartbreaking read, with stories of abuse and suffering not just from the past, but from everyday life in today's world."

Talaga is also the author of Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, a nonfiction study of a community in northern Ontario trying to understand a series of Indigenous student deaths. The book won the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize

For the 2018 Massey Lectures, Indigenous journalist Tanya Talaga examined the devastating problem of youth suicide in Indigenous communities. She spoke to Anna Maria Tremonti about what she found. 27:30

The prize is being juried by broadcaster and literature professor Patrick Wright, former Guardian columnist Madeleine Bunting, British news correspondent Fatma Manj, historian Rana Mitter and social anthropologist Henrietta Moore.

Also on the 2020 shortlist is Yale University professor Hazel V. Carby for Imperial Intimacies, University of Cambridge, professor Priyamvada Gopal for Insurgent Empire, Finnish professor Pekka Hämäläinen for Lakota America, and Georgetown University professor Charles King for The Reinvention of Humanity.

The winner will be announced on Oct. 27, 2020.

The prize has been given out annually since 2013.

Last year's winner was Toby Green for A Fistful of Shells, which looked at the slave trade in West Africa. 

Other past winners include British historian Timothy Garton Ash, British Islamic scholar Carole Hillenbrand and British religion scholar Karen Armstrong.

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