Barbados-born Austin Clarke’s writings continue to be recognized, this time as an RBC Taylor Prize nomination for his most recent book, ‘Membering, the Commonwealth and Giller award-winning work.
In ’Membering, Clarke shares his own experiences growing up in Barbados and moving to Toronto to attend university in 1955 before becoming a journalist. With vivid realism he describes Harlem of the ’60s, meeting and interviewing Malcolm X and writers Chinua Achebe and LeRoi Jones.
Clarke’s book is among 12 listed for the 2016 RBC Taylor Prize. The shortlist will be announced Jan. 13.
The jurors – former broadcast program chief Susanne Boyce, acclaimed novelist Steven Galloway and director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at U of T Stephen J. Toope read 120 books by Canadian authors and submitted by 39 Canadian and international publishers.
“These 12 titles stand united in their outstanding literary quality. They represent the best in literary non-fiction published this year,” the jury noted.
Among the other titles are Sixty: The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? by Ian Brown (Toronto); Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours that Made History by Andrew Cohen (Ottawa); Road Trip Rwanda: A Journey Into the New Heart of Africa by Will Ferguson (Calgary) and Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead by Michael Winter (Toronto).
Noreen Taylor, chair of Charles Taylor Foundation, the founder of the prize, said: “These 12 titles, one by a former RBC Taylor Prize winner, another by a former juror, and so many by well-regarded fiction writers, reveal a cross-over of literary genres – and that has to be a good thing for all Canadian readers and every holiday shopping list.”
As the jury continues deliberations, Galloway has stepped down for personal reasons. In his place, the trustees selected award-winning author, educator and previous juror Joseph Kertes.
Established biennially in 1998 by trustees of Charles Taylor Foundation, the RBC Taylor Prize commemorates Charles Taylor’s pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction.
Awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of English, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception, the prize consists of $25,000 for the winner and $2,000 for each of the remaining finalists, plus promotional support to help all nominated books stand out in the media, bookstores and libraries.