Tuesday 16 April 2019

Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author and environmental historian.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019 • Toronto, Ontario: For immediate Release
 Kate Harris Names Jessica J. Lee to the 2019 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award
With an unwavering commitment to supporting and encouraging emerging Canadian talent, the Charles Taylor Foundation and RBC Wealth Management are pleased to announce that Jessica J. Lee is the sixth recipient of its annual Emerging Writer Award. The London ON born writer, now living in Berlin, was chosen by Kate Harris, winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize for her book Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road. The Prize consists of a $10,000 cash prize and mentorship by Ms. Harris.
RBC Taylor Prize Founder Noreen Taylor commented: “Jessica J. Lee is exactly the kind of writer we envision for the Emerging Author award. A multi-talented young person, Lee is about to break out on several fronts. She is a committed environmental historian who also just happens to be a talented writer and is also encouraging young diverse writers by editing and publishing the Willowherb Review. This award will assist Lee towards completing her multiple projects.”
Vijay Parmar, President of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel added: “On behalf of RBC Wealth Management, congratulations to Jessica J. Lee on being named this year’s RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award winner. We can’t wait to see what you do next. We’re incredibly proud to support this Award and the opportunity it offers our country’s rising authors to advance their literary careers.”
Kate Harris noted that Jessica J. Lee is an “uber-talented Canadian author, whose first book, Turning, I deeply admired for its gorgeous mix of memoir and nature/travel writing. It’s about the year she spent swimming a different lake every weekend as a way of moving through heartbreak and depression. I also love the fact that she’s founded a literary magazine, The Willowherb Review, to celebrate and bolster nature writing by emerging and established diverse writers. She’s definitely a nonfiction voice I want to hear more from.”
Lee enthused “I’m completely surprised and honoured that Kate Harris selected me for the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Since receiving the news, I’ve felt like a pool of jelly — it means a lot to me that I’ll be joining such a brilliant community of previous winners. The gift of time that an award like this brings is more than I can put into words: this will grant me time to really focus on finishing my next book and working on projects like The Willowherb Review. The opportunity to be in touch with a fellow writer, scholar, and nature-lover like Kate is extraordinary—I’m sure we’ll have quite a lot to talk about over the coming year. I’m so grateful to Kate and the award committee: thank you!”
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 the genre of literary non-fiction. Through mentorship from the current RBC Taylor Prize winner and the cash award, it is intended that the recipient will be able to progress toward the creation of a first draft.
Jessica J. Lee

Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author and environmental historian. She has a BA from University of Kings College, Halifax, an MA from University of London, and a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics from York University in Toronto. Her first book, Turning, was published in 2017. She has lived in Berlin since 2014, where she is Writer-in-Residence at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology.
Kate Harris has written for The WalrusCanadian Geographic, and The Georgia Review, among other publications. A Rhodes scholar (Oxford — History of Science) with degrees from MIT and UNC Chapel Hill, she was named one of Canada’s top modern-day explorers and has won several awards for her nonfiction writing. She lives off-grid in a log cabin in Atlin, BC. Lands of Lost Borders is her first book.
Kate Harris won the Taylor Prize - photo Sandler
About RBC
Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 84,000+ employees who bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank, and one of the largest in the world based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 16 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 33 other countries. Learn more at rbc.com.
We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at rbc.com/community-sustainability.
About the RBC Taylor Prize
Established in 1998 by the trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation and first awarded in 2000, 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 the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception. All finalists receive $5,000, and the winner receives a further $25,000. All authors are presented with a custom leather bound version of their shortlisted book at the awards ceremony. All finalists receive promotional support for their nominated titles.
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are: Vijay Parmar, David Staines, Edward Taylor, Nadina Taylor, and Noreen Taylor. The Prize Manager is Sheila Kay.
Media contact: Stephen Weir & Associates
Stephen Weir: 416.489.5868 | cell: 416.801.3101 | stephen@stephenweir.com
For general information about the Prize please go to: www.rbctaylorprize.ca
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To download a high-resolution image of the recipient of the 2019 RBC Taylor