Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

RBC Taylor Prize Interview Series: Thomas King

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Thomas King

Thomas King's latest book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (Doubleday Canada) is both personal and historical, hinging on the question of what it means to be "Indian" in North America. Just weeks ago, the book was awarded the prestigious BC National Non-Fiction Prize, after scooping nominations for the Hilary Weston Writer's Trust Nonfiction prize and the Trillium Award.

We're speaking with Thomas today to wrap up the 2014 edition of our RBC Taylor Prize for Non-Fiction interview series. In mere hours, the 2014 prize winner will be announced. The full list of nominees, in addition to Thomas, include Charlotte Gray, J.B. MacKinnon, Graeme Smith and David Stouck.

Thomas tells us about storytelling in non-fiction, a favourite non-fiction read of his and how he'll celebrate if he's awarded the prize today.

The RBC Taylor Prize is a $25,000 award that honours both Charles Taylor's legacy and the finest work of non-fiction published in Canada in the previous year. The 2014 prize will be announced on March 10 and will be selected by a jury composed of Coral Ann Howells, James Polk and previous prize winner Andrew Westoll.

Open Book:

Tell us about the book for which you were shortlisted.

Thomas King:

The book is a wide ranging overview of the history of Native people in North America.


What were some of the most challenging and most enjoyable elements of writing this book?


The more challenging elements centered around the research and finding an effective storytelling strategy for telling the tale. The most enjoyable part of the project was finally finishing the book. It took much longer than I had expected.


What do you love about writing non-fiction specifically?


I don’t really make a great distinction between fiction and non-fiction. They both involve storytelling and it’s the storytelling that I like.


Tell us about a favourite non-fiction book you've read.


Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire.


What can you tell us about your next project?


My next project is a novel called The Back of The Turtle which will be published in Sept. of 2014. Quite excited about this particular book.


If you are awarded the 2014 RBC Taylor Prize, how will you celebrate?


Probably I’ll have a good meal with friends and family. Maybe even dessert.

Thomas King is of Cherokee, Greek, and German descent and is currently chair of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. His short stories have been widely published throughout the United States and Canada, and a film, based on his much acclaimed first novel Medicine River, has been made for television.

For more information about The Inconvenient Indian please visit the Doubleday Canada website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

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