Mark Critch poses for a portrait on the south side of the harbour in St. John’s on Thursday, August 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

Books about life in N.L., travels on Silk Road named to RBC Taylor Prize list

TORONTO — A comedian, a former governor general and several of this year’s literary awards darlings are among the 10 writers in the running for the RBC Taylor Prize.

Mark Critch, anchor of CBC’s “This Hour Has 22 Minutes,” earned a spot on the long list for the $25,000 non-fiction prize with his memoir about growing up in Newfoundland in the ’80s.

Elizabeth Hay made the cut for “All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir” (McClelland & Stewart) about her experience acting as a guardian and caregiver to her parents, which won the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction last month.

Darrel McLeod of Sooke, B.C., is also a contender with his Governor General’s Literary Award-winning debut “Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age” (Douglas & McIntyre).

Terese Marie Mailhot added a nod from the Taylor Prize to the plaudits for “Heart Berries: A Memoir” (Doubleday Canada), which was shortlisted for the non-fiction prize at both the Writers’ Trust and Governor General’s Literary awards.

Former Governor General David Johnston is vying for the honour with “Trust: Twenty Ways to Build a Better Country” (Signal/M&S), billed as a repair manual for the social fabric on which democracies depend.

Adventurer Kate Harris also has a shot with “Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Roads” about her bicycle travels retracing the fabled network of trade routes of centuries past connecting Asia and Europe.

Rounding out the long list are:

“Just Let Me Look at You: On Fatherhood,” by Bill Gaston (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Canada)

“Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music,” by Ian Hampton (Porcupine’s Quill)

“Seeking the Fabled City: The Canadian Jewish Experience,” by Allan Levine (McClelland and Stewart)

“Power, Prime Ministers and the Press: The Battle for Truth on Parliament Hill,” by Robert Lewis (Dundurn Press)

Jurors Camilla Gibb, Roy MacGregor and Beverley McLachlin praised this year’s longlisted titles, culled from more than 100 books, as a “barometer for current issues, from reconciliation to political trust.”

The short list for the Taylor Prize will be announced Jan. 9 and the winner will be named on March 4, 2019.

The prize was created in 1998 by the Charles Taylor Foundation and awards the winner with $25,000, plus $5,000 given to every finalist.

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