On Monday, Iain Reid, a Kingston, Ontario based writer, was named the recipient of the 2015 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Mr. Reid was nominated for the Award by Plum Johnson whose book They Left Us Everything: A Memoir won the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize in early March.
Established jointly by RBC and the Taylor Prize to promote emerging talent in non-fiction writing, the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award consists of a $10,000 cash prize, in addition to the opportunity to be mentored by the 2015 RBC Taylor Prize winner.
Iain Reid lives and works in Kingston, Ontario. He has had two non-fiction books published by House of Anansi Press in Canada. His first book, the critically acclaimed memoir, One Bird's Choice, won the CBC Bookie Award for Best Nonfiction Book of the Year and has been translated into multiple languages. His most recent book, The Truth About Luck, recounting the road trip he took with his 92 year-old grandmother, was named by The Globe and Mail as one of the Best Books of 2013.
"I had a natural bias towards choosing an older writer on a pension, like me, but Iain's work smashed my bias to smithereens," said Plum Johnson about her reasons for choosing Iain Reid to receive the Emerging Author Award. "Besides, he told me he already lives like a pensioner -- basement apartment, communal phone, and tea at four o'clock. He's learned from his grandmother ... and I'm excited to learn from Iain. We'll be emerging together. That's 'the truth about luck.'"
Reid's essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications throughout North America. In 2014 Reid was one of six international young authors invited to teach at the inaugural Iceland Writers Retreat. Reid is a graduate of Queen's University where he studied history, English literature, and philosophy. In 2015 Reid signed a two-book U.S. deal with the new imprint, Scout, at Simon & Schuster. His debut novel, the philosophical thriller, I'm Thinking of Ending Things, will be published next summer in both Canada and the U.S.
photo - Iain Reid and Plum Johnson - Photo Tom Sandler
"While Plum Johnson explores the possessions in her late parents' house, and the house itself, she exposes the complexity, connectivity, and importance of family relationships. They Left Us Everything is an affecting, thoughtful, honest, and humorous look at what makes an old, family home more than just walls and a roof. I was delighted to hear it won this year's RBC Taylor Prize," said Iain Reid. "Her book is important and deserved recognition in the world of literary non-fiction and beyond, I think, for this kind of book and its author. I look forward to more of her work in the future and am grateful for the support of this generous Award."
"Plum's thoughtful and inspired selection of Iain Reid was exactly the model we considered when setting up this Emerging Writer Award," said RBC Taylor Prize Foundation Chair, Noreen Taylor "We hoped that we would pair writers together in a manner that would strengthen both their writing careers. Writers learn from each other and hone their skills in close association with a selected few. We fully anticipate this benefit to be realized in the pairing of Plum and Iain and we look forward to reading the fruits of their association. Needless to say, the cash award will also be most helpful!"
"RBC has a long history of supporting aspiring Canadian artists across all genres, including literature", said Vijay Parmar, President, RBC PH&N Investment Counsel. "While we believe that it is important to provide monetary assistance, we also recognize the invaluable benefit that this kind of mentorship provides the next generation of writers. We are excited to bring Iain Reid and Plum Johnson together and wish them both well."
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. 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.
A video about the formal presentation of the Emerging Author Award to Iain Reid with Plum Johnson, Noreen Taylor and Vijay Parmar by George Socka.
A video, also by George Socka, with Iain Reid and Plum Johnson talking about their books.