Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA) Announces New Director

On Friday, January 31, 2020, TIFA has advised that after an extensive global search, Roland Gulliver has been appointed as the new Director for the Toronto International Festival of Authors (TIFA).

An accomplished cultural leader and recognized internationally, Roland comes to TIFA after 12 years with the prestigious Edinburgh International Book Festival, where he exceeded the high expectations of international audiences, authors, the literary industry, public stakeholders and private sponsors.


RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writers Mentorship Program Returns

Launched to great success in 2018, the RBC Taylor Prize and the RBC Foundation today announced the return of this professional development program to support the next generation of Canadian writers.

Five emerging writers, selected from the nation’s many fine writing programs, will be paired with the finalists for the 2020 RBC Taylor Prize, an award that honours and celebrates the pursuit of excellence in literary non-fiction. The program is curated by Joe Kertes, Dean Emeritus of the Humber College School of Creative Arts & Performance.

Nadina Taylor, trustee of the Charles Taylor Foundation and daughter of the late Charles Taylor, is one of the main champions of the program. “The mentorship program has been so successful, giving aspiring writers the opportunity to learn from and make connections with the finalists, and indeed the microcosm of the publishing world that is the RBC Taylor Prize.”

“At RBC Wealth Management, we believe in supporting the next generation of Canadian artists who are helping to create change and shape our communities by telling our country’s unique stories”, said Vijay Parmar, President of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel. “That’s why we support programs like the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Mentorship program, which provides an important platform to help advance emerging writers career trajectories.”

The five “emergent” writers, who each have an existing body of work, and a non-fiction manuscript close to completion, will correspond with their mentors prior to travelling to Toronto for the Prize weekend, Feb 27 through March 2. They will meet with their mentors, participate in an intensive day of professional development, accompany their mentors through media and events, and participate in the Awards Luncheon on Monday March 2nd.


The five Emergent Writers for the 2020 Mentorship Program are:

Martin Bauman — University of Victoria

Martin Bauman is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, whose work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, and Waterloo Region Record, among other places. As host of the Story Untold Podcast, he has interviewed some of Canada’s most notable figures, including Rick Hansen and Juno Award-winner Shad. A passionate speaker and mental health advocate, Bauman has been a youth panelist for the Canada-wide Spotlight on Invisible Disabilities Partnership and bicycled solo across Canada to raise funds for services in his hometown of Waterloo, ON. He is writing a memoir about men, depression, and the ways they cope with trauma – told through the 7,000 kilometres he spent on the road.


Sheima Benembarek — Dalhousie University / King’s College

Sheima Benembarek is a Moroccan Canadian writer and a magazine publishing professional. She has a Centennial College graduate degree in publishing and is completing a University of King’s College MFA in creative nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in the Literary Review of Canada, This, Maisonneuve, Torontoist, and Broadview. She writes about immigrant narratives and intersectional feminism. Her book, Unveiling, is a collection of accounts about the experiences of Muslim women reconciling sexual freedoms and Islam in North America. Are these women truly living in a country that separates church from state or have religious restrictions immigrated along with the community? Unveiling investigates this question.


Kate Black — University of British Columbia

Kate Black’s literary journalism has appeared in Eighteen Bridges, Glass Buffalo, New Trail and Maisonneuve, and has won an Alberta Magazine Award. Originally from St. Albert, AB, she now lives in Vancouver, BC. She’s completing an MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia, where she’s writing a short story collection. During the RBC Taylor Prize mentorship program, Kate will be working on a series of essays exploring the social history of West Edmonton Mall and coming of age in suburban Alberta.


Simone Dalton — University of Guelph

Simone Dalton is a writer born in Trinidad-Tobago. She holds an MFA from the University of Guelph, where she received the Constance Rooke and Board of Graduate Studies Research Scholarships. Named by Room Magazine in 2018 as one of the “20 Black Writers to Read All Year Round,” her work has been published in The Unpublished City: Volume I, a 2018 Toronto Book Awards finalist, and in the anthology, Black Writers Matter. In 2019, her inaugural short play, VOWS, debuted at Soulpepper as part of RARE Theatre’s production, Welcome to My Underworld. She is now working on her first memoir.


Gillian Grant — Humber College

Gillian Grant completed the Humber School for Writers Graduate Certificate in Creative Non-Fiction with a Letter of Distinction in 2019. She was the featured student writer in the Black Box Session: Humber School for Writers, Love & Defiance Podcast at the Toronto International Festival of Authors in 2019. She has had a long career as a broadcast journalist including Mind, Body & Spirit on WTN, The Health Show and Living in Toronto, both on CBC TV. Gillian is currently working on her memoir: Living without Knowing. Life with cancer and the unexpected healing from a First Nations Leader. She lives in Toronto.


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 85,000+ 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 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 34 other countries. Learn more at

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at


About the RBC Taylor Prize

Established in 1998 by the trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation and first awarded in 2000, 2020 marks the nineteenth, and final, awarding of the RBC Taylor Prize, which 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.

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Poetry Wins the Grand Prize at the 2019 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Awards Gala, with Ebb & Flow by Heather Smith Winning the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award

Toronto, Ontario, October 15, 2019 — The Canadian Children’s Book Centre (CCBC) is delighted to announce the winners of its English-language children’s book awards. Awarded tonight at a gala event in Toronto, Heather Smith took home the title of most distinguished children’s book of the year and $50,000 — the largest cash prize in Canadian children’s literature for her book, Ebb & Flow, a middle-grade novel in free-verse. The publisher, Kids Can Press, received $2,500 for promotional purposes. An additional $10,000 was shared among the four finalists for their contributions to Canadian children’s literature.

Groundwood Books won three awards out of an impressive total of seven nominations. Africville by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Eva Campbell, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award; Turtle Pond by James Gladstone, illustrated by Karen Reczuch, won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction; and They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki won the CBC Fan Choice Award. Other winners include Christopher Paul Curtis, Courtney Summers and Michelle Barker.

Seven awards in total were given out:

  • Ebb & Flow by Heather Smith, won the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award ($50,000)
  • Africville by Shauntay Grant, illustrated by Eva Campbell, won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award ($20,000)
  • Turtle Pond by James Gladstone, illustrated by Karen Reczuch, won the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction ($10,000)
  • The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis, won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People ($5,000)
  • Sadie by Courtney Summers, won the John Spray Mystery Award ($5,000)
  • The House of One Thousand Eyes by Michelle Barker, won the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award ($5,000)
  • They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki won the CBC Fan Choice Award ($5,000)

See the full media release here.



The Women’s Caucus of Playwrights Guild of Canada Announces the Recipient of the 2019 Bra d’Or Award

Toronto, Ontario, October 2, 2019 — The Women’s Caucus of Playwrights Guild of Canada (PGC) is pleased to announce Pamela Halstead as the winner of the 2019 Bra d’Or Award, which recognizes an individual for promoting and supporting the work of women playwrights in Canada.

PGC received ten nominations for the Bra d’Or Award this year: Andrea Donaldson (Nightwood Theatre), Karen Gross (2b Theatre), Pamela Halstead (PARC), Heather Inglis (Theatre Yes), Karen Jeffery (Sunset Theatre), Ruth Lawrence (Women’s Work Festival), Lisa O’Connell (Pat The Dog), Anna Pappas (Ergo Arts), Heidi Taylor (PTC), and Emma Tibaldo (PWM). All are incredible candidates! Read about these amazing women and their nominations HERE. While Women’s Caucus members put forth the nominations, all PGC members vote to pick the winner.

As the recipient of the 2019 Bra d’Or Award, Pamela Halstead will be celebrated at PGC’s annual Tom Hendry Awards, held Sunday, October 27th at the Toronto Arts and Letter Club. She will also be honoured at a local event in her own community later in the year, and at the annual conference of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres (PACT) in Montreal in May 2020.



Announcing the 2019 GG Books Finalists

Ottawa, Ontario, October 2, 2019 — The Canada Council for the Arts revealed the 2019 finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards today.

The 70 finalists were selected by peer assessment committees from some 1,400 books in seven categories in both English and French.

See the full list of finalists here.

It’s a great time to update your reading list with our best books of the year!

Stay tuned—the winners will be revealed on October 29, 2019.

We are delighted to administer, fund and promote the Governor General’s Literary Awards, one of the oldest and most prestigious literary awards programs in the country. #GGBooks2019

[Editor’s note: A little known fact  — The GG Literary Awards were first created and administered by Canadian Authors Association.]



Announcing the 2019 Journey Prize Finalists

Toronto, Ontario, September 4, 2019 — The Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart #JourneyPrize recognizes developing writers for the best short story of the past year. The nominated works were first published in a peer-reviewed Canadian literary journal or anthology. The $10,000 winner will be announced at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony on November 5, 2019.

Read more about the 2019 Journey Prize finalists

Look for a copy of the The Journey Prize Stories 31 anthology, featuring all of the longlisted works, at your local bookstore starting September 24.