WAR, FAITH & ART: FIVE GREAT NON-FICTION TITLES
Five Canadian authors are in contention for the prestigious Charles Taylor Prize – a $25,000 award for literary non-fiction. Whether their works explore other lives and other times or encourage political discourse, they all invite getting lost in a good read.
The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franca by Carol Bishop-Gwyn
Whether you’re a dance fan or not, you will be captivated by the force of nature that was Celia Franca. Brought from England to act as founder for the National Ballet of Canada, her drive to succeed made her ruthless. The book is described by the Charles Taylor Prize jury as a “complex story of an artist both driven and tyrannical, both sensitive and unreasonable, but someone able, with little help and in what was little more than a cultural backwater, to found a ballet company which was to become one of the best in the world, the National Ballet of Canada.”
Warlords: Borden, Mackenzie King and Canada’s World Wars by Tim Cook
Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page by Sandra Djwa
More than a decade of research went into this compelling portrait of one of Canada’s most respected modern poets and artists. In their citation, the Charles Taylor Prize jury says, “Using the tools of the scholar – letters, notes, diaries, manuscripts, texts and interviews – Djwa fashions a compelling and necessary biography. She does the important job of leaving us with the big, rich life story, which gives an extra dimension to the art of a great writer.”
Leonardo and The Last Supper by Ross King (Woodstock, England)
The most recent in King’s studies of medieval Italian masters, this explores The Last Supper, possibly the most famous painting in the world after da Vinci’s own Mona Lisa. In its citation, the Charles Taylor Prize jury says, “It is the painting that raised da Vinci from the status of a highly promising but exasperatingly unproductive painter to the rank of the greatest artistic genius of all time. Leonardo and The Last Supper is a masterly exercise in the art of popular biography.”
Sword of the Spirit, Shield of Faith: Religion by Andrew Preston
Preston gives a detailed and deeply researched look at the influence of religion on U.S. foreign policy, from colonial times through the Obama administration. According to the Charles Taylor Prize jury, by showing “the centrality of religion in American life is by no means unique to fundamentalists and neo-conservatives, this important work has such chapter titles as ‘High Priests of the Cold War’ and ‘A JudeoChristian Foreign Policy,’ which convey Preston’s originality and, indeed, his bravery.”
2013 marks the 12th awarding of The Charles Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction, which commemorates the life and work of the late Charles Taylor, one of Canada’s foremost essayists and a prominent member of the Canadian literary community.
The winner of this year’s $25,000 prize will be announced on Monday, March 4.