Thursday 19 June 2014

The presentation of the first ever RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award took place tonight during an evening of Aboriginal storytelling hosted by RBC Wealth Management and the RBC Taylor Prize.  The award was presented to author, academic, storyteller and Native Peoples activist Leanne Simpson Ph.D (second from left).  On stage with this year's winner is Vijay Parmar, President RBC PH&N Investment Counsel (left), RBC Taylor Prize winner Thomas King (second from right) and Prize founder Noreen Taylor (right). picture  by Weir
Leanne Simpson presented with inaugural RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award
during a Native Peoples storytelling event at Toronto’s Harbourfront
The presentation of the first ever RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award took place tonight during an evening of Aboriginal storytelling hosted by RBC Wealth Management and the RBC Taylor Prize.  RBC Wealth Management and Taylor Prize created the $10,000 award to promote emerging Canadian talent in non-fiction, as well as the opportunity to be mentored by the nominating RBC Taylor Prize winner. The award was presented to author, academic, storyteller and Native Peoples activist Leanne Simpson Ph.D. by Taylor Foundation Chair, Noreen Taylor. 
As this year’s RBC Taylor Prize winner, it was Thomas King’s role to choose the recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. This was the first time that the two authors have shared a stage since he announced his selection.
“For me, Leanne Simpson was an obvious choice,” said Thomas 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 story- telling 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.”
“Thomas King is a gifted writer, performer, story-teller and one of my biggest influences,” said Dr.  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 holds a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba and is an instructor at the Centre for World Indigenous Knowledge, Athabasca University. She has published over thirty scholarly articles and authored five books that draw upon her extensive knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. She has also written articles for Canadian magazines and newspapers. In 2012 she won Briarpatch Magazine’s Writing from the Margins competition for short fiction.
Ms. Simpson is a member of the Alderville First Nation (Rice Lake, Ontario). For the past 15 years, she has worked with Indigenous communities and organizations in Canada and internationally on environmental, governance and political issues. Her third book, Dancing On Our Turtle’s Back (AK Press) stresses the importance of illuminating indigenous intellectual traditions in order to transfer that relationship to the Canadian state.
Thomas King is a novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction author, screenwriter, and photographer. He was born in the US, the son of a Greek mother and a Cherokee father. Before immigrating to Canada, Thomas King worked as an administrator and teacher at Humboldt State University and the University of Utah (PhD 1986). He accepted a position in Native Studies at the University of Lethbridge and soon began writing serious fiction. Often described as one of the finest contemporary Native America writers, two of King’s books have been nominated for Governor General’s Awards. In 2003, King was the first Native Canadian to deliver the Massey Lectures. The author currently teaches English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph.
“One writer’s admiration for another is an age-old tradition, and one that the RBC Taylor Emerging Writers Award is formalizing, “explained Noreen Taylor, “This new award brings together writers who have had an appreciation of each other’s work and, with its mentoring element, helps forge stronger bonds between the authors. Thomas King has found Leanne to have one of the more gifted and engaging voices of her generation.  Meanwhile, Leanne has credited Tom with being a major influence in her writing.  I know that, as readers, we will reap the greatest reward.”
“On behalf of RBC, we congratulate Leanne Simpson for winning this prestigious award,” said Vijay Parmar, President RBC PH&N Investment Counsel. “RBC is deeply committed to supporting emerging writers, such as Leanne, and their passion for literary excellence in Canada.  We are thrilled that, through the new RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award, we will be able to help cultivate the talents of the next generation of writers in Canada by providing both financial and professional development opportunities to hone their craft.”
The RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award was established to provide recognition and assistance to a Canadian published author who is working on a significant writing project, preferably but not limited to literary non-fiction. Through mentorship from the nominating author, and the cash award, it is intended that the writer will be able to progress toward the creation of a first draft.
About RBC Wealth Management
RBC Wealth Management is one of the world’s top 10 largest wealth managers*. RBC Wealth Management directly serves affluent, high-net-worth and ultra-high net worth clients in Canada, the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia with a full suite of banking, investment, trust and other wealth management solutions. The business also provides asset management products and services directly and through RBC and third party distributors to institutional and individual clients, through its RBC Global Asset Management business (which includes BlueBay Asset Management). RBC Wealth Management has more than C$690 billion of assets under administration, more than C$426 billion of assets under management and approximately 4,400 financial consultants, advisors, private bankers, and trust officers. For more information, please visit
About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management services, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We employ approximately 79,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 42 other countries. For more information, please visit
Leanne Simpson
RBC supports a broad range of community initiatives through donations, sponsorships and employee volunteer activities. In 2013, we contributed more than $104 million to causes worldwide, including donations and community investments of more than $69 million and $35 million in sponsorships. Learn more at
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About the RBC Taylor Prize
The RBC Taylor Prize was founded to commemorate the life of the late Charles Taylor, one of Canada’s foremost essayists and a prominent member of the Canadian literary community. Charles Taylor was a foreign correspondent with The Globe and Mail and the author of four books: Radical Tories; Reporter in Red China; Six Journeys: A Canadian Pattern; and Snow Job.
The Trustees of the Charles Taylor Prize Foundation are Michael Bradley (Toronto), David Staines (Ottawa), and Noreen Taylor (Toronto). The Foundation gratefully acknowledges the support of RBC Wealth Management as its presenting sponsor; along with its major sponsor Metropia; and greatly appreciates the support of its media sponsors The Globe and Mail; Maclean’s magazine, CNW Group; The Huffington Post Canada and Quill & Quire magazine; and in-kind sponsors: Authors at Harbourfront Centre, Ben McNally Books, Event Source and The Omni King Edward Hotel.
For further information please visit: Facebook: | Follow us on Twitter: @taylorprize

George Socka posted a video about Leanne Simpson receiving the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Authors Award from Tom King