Biography of HBC co-founder claims RBC Taylor Prize

Other Canadian history books receive multiple 2020 award nominations.

Written by Phil Koch

Posted April 27, 2020

Mark Bourrie’s Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson was named the winner of the RBC Taylor Prize for excellence in literary non-fiction at an event held early in March.

It had earlier been announced that this would be the last edition of the Taylor Prize, initially awarded in 2000 in honour of Canadian writer Charles Taylor. Bourrie’s biography of Pierre-Esprit Radisson, a Hudson’s Bay Company co-founder, was excerpted in the June-July 2019 issue of Canada’s History magazine. You can read the excerpt online.

Early in April, finalists were announced for the 2020 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize for the best book on Canada, Canadians, or Canada’s place in the world — and they include three Canadian history titles: Canada on the United Nations Security Council: A Small Power on a Large Stage, by Adam Chapnick; The Good Fight: Marcel Cadieux and Canadian Diplomacy, by Brendan Kelly; and Moved by the State: Forced Relocation and Making a Good Life in Postwar Canada, by Tina Loo.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Historical Association has announced the finalists for the CHA Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize, and Loo’s book Moved by the State is included on that list.

The other recognized books are: Radical Medicine: The International Origins of Socialized Health Care in Canada, by Esyllt W. Jones; Assembling Unity: Indigenous Politics, Gender, and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, by Sarah A. Nickel; Wounded Feelings: Litigating Emotions in Quebec, 1870–1950, by Eric H. Reiter; Courtiers et entrepreneurs: Le courtage financier au Québec, 1867–1987, by Marc Vallières; and At the Bridge: James Teit and an Anthropology of Belonging, by Wendy Wickwire.

As always, Canadian history titles are well-represented at this year’s regional book prizes. Radical Medicine and At the Bridge have also been named finalists for regional book awards — the former in Manitoba and the latter in British Columbia. And Strangers in the House: A Prairie Story of Bigotry and Belonging, by Candace Savage, is a finalist for three awards in Saskatchewan.

Michael Layland’s In Nature’s Realm: Early Naturalists Explore Vancouver Island has won the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, while Diane Pinch received the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for her book Passion & Persistence: Fifty Years of the Sierra Club in British Columbia.

Here’s a selection of other Canadian history books that have so far been announced as finalists for regional awards in 2020:

BC and Yukon Book Prizes

Voices from the Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History, by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers

Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife, by Aaron Chapman

Other book prizes in British Columbia

1919: A Graphic History of the Winnipeg General Strike, by The Graphic History Collective and David Lester

Against the Current and Into the Light: Performing History and Land in Coast Salish Territories and Vancouver's Stanley Park, by Selena Courture

Manitoba Book Awards

The North-West Is Our Mother: The Story of Louis Riel’s People, the Métis Nation, by Jean Teillet

Friends, Foes, and Furs: George Nelson’s Lake Winnipeg Journals, 1804–1822, edited by Harry W. Duckworth

Radical Housewives: Price Wars and Food Politics in Mid-Twentieth-Century Canada, by Julie Guard

Communal Solidarity: Immigration, Settlement, and Social Welfare in Winnipeg’s Jewish Community, 1882–1930, by Arthur Ross

Distorted Descent: White Claims to Indigenous Identity, by Darryl Leroux

This Place: 150 Years Retold, edited by HighWater Press

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