Memoirs dominate the short list of the RBC Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction, which was announced on Wednesday.
The five nominees are Barbara Taylor for The Last Asylum: A Memoir of Madness in Our Times, which chronicles the author's multiple institutionalizations at London's now-shuttered Friern Hospital and her lifelong experiences with mental illness; Kathleen Winter for Boundless: Tracing Land and Dream in a New Northwest Passage, which details the author's two-week journey tracing the route taken by the lost (and now found) Franklin expedition; M.G. Vassanji for And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa, in which the Giller Prize-winning novelist returns to, and rediscovers, the land of his birth; Plum Johnson for They Left Us Everything, about the author's attempts to declutter and sell her childhood home after her mother's death; and David O'Keefe for One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada's Tragedy at Dieppe, which explores the story-behind-the-story of one of Canada's most ill-fated military operations.
Knopf Canada, the publisher of Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, which won the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-Fiction and had been longlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize, had to withdraw the book after learning that prior commitments would have prevented Klein from participating in all events relating to the prize had she been a finalist.
This year's jury consists of former Globe and Mail books editor Martin Levin, former National Ballet of Canada executive director Kevin Garland and historian Andrew Preston, who won the RBC Taylor Prize in 2013 for his book Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith.
The winner of the prize, who receives $25,000, will be announced at a ceremony in Toronto on March 2.