Monday, March 03, 2008

Gwyn Awarded 2008 Charles Taylor Prize

Richard Gwyn has been awarded the seventh annual Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction for his book, John A.: The Man Who Made Us: The Life and Times of John A. Macdonald (Random House Canada). The prestigious $25,000.00 prize was awarded at a luncheon today in the Sovereign Ballroom of Toronto’s Le Royal Meridien King Edward Hotel.

The jury described the winning book as “a lively but thorough biography of John A. Macdonald up to the day of Confederation in 1867, Richard Gwyn brings to life the young Scottish-born lawyer who found himself unexpectedly entering politics in Kingston in 1844. Gwyn writes from a twenty-first century perspective while painting for his readers a vivid image of nineteenth century Canada: its society, customs, characters and politics. Gwyn helps us understand Macdonald’s genius and vision, which would shape the nation that grew to the north of the United States.”

The Globe & Mail felt that Gwyn’s win was “something of an anomaly for the Taylor prize. Since its creation in 2000, its juries, regardless of their composition, have tended to favour books of a personal, autobiographical or family nature, not works of historical biography or social history.” The single exception, The Globe noted was the late Carol Shields’ 2002 win Jane Austen: A Life.

Richard Gwyn is an award-winning author and journalist. He is the author of two previous biographies: The Unlikely Revolutionary, about Newfoundland premier Joey Smallwood and The Northern Magus about former prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Also nominated:
  • The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and Son by David Gilmour (Thomas Allen)
  • From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People by Lorna Goodison (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Lost Genius: The Story of a Forgotten Musical Maverick by Kevin Bassana (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Kasztner’s Train: The True Story of Reszo Kasztner, Unknown Hero of the Holocaust by Anna Porter (Douglas & McIntyre)



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