The Toronto Star’s Tanya Talaga shortlisted for RBC Taylor book prize

Talaga’s Seven Fallen Feathers competes against James Maskalyk’s Life on the Ground Floor and three other finalists for the $30,000 non-fiction prize.

Tanya Talaga's Seven Fallen Feathers traces the lives and deaths of several teens in Thunder Bay.

Non-fiction books about life as an ER doctor and indigenous teens who died in and near Thunder Bay are among the titles shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize.

A three-member jury announced five finalists for the $30,000 award, to be handed out Feb. 26 in Toronto.

James Maskalyk’s Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine (Doubleday Canada) contrasts medicine as practised in a world-class Toronto hospital to the bare bones clinics in Sudan and Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City (House of Anansi Press), from Toronto Star reporter Tanya Talaga, traces the lives and deaths of several teens in northern Ontario.

Other books in the running include: Max Wallace’s look at the final days of the Second World War, In the Name of Humanity (Allen Lane Canada); and Daniel Coleman’s exploration of the Niagara Escarpment, Yardwork: A Biography of an Urban Place(Wolsak and Wynn).

Also making the cut is Stephen R. Bown’s Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska (Douglas & McIntyre), about the explorers sent across Russia by Peter the Great to seek a route to North America.

In addition to the winner’s prize, the runners-up will each receive $5,000.

The winner also gets to award a $10,000 emerging writers prize to an author of their choosing. That prize will be handed out shortly after the winner is named.

A jury including Christine Elliott, Anne Giardini and James Polk evaluated 153 non-fiction Canadian written books submitted by 110 Canadian and international publishers.

The RBC Taylor Prize was set up in 1993 to honour journalist Charles Taylor.