We’re so excited to share that The Charles Taylor Foundation and RBC Wealth Management have announced that Jessica J. Lee is the sixth recipient of its annual Emerging Writer Award. The London, Ontario born writer, now living in Berlin, was chosen by Kate Harris, winner of the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize for her book Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road. The Prize consists of a $10,000 cash prize and mentorship by Ms. Harris.
RBC Taylor Prize Founder Noreen Taylor commented: “Jessica J. Lee is exactly the kind of writer we envision for the Emerging Author award. A multi-talented young person, Lee is about to break out on several fronts. She is a committed environmental historian who also just happens to be a talented writer and is also encouraging young diverse writers by editing and publishing the Willowherb Review. This award will assist Lee towards completing her multiple projects.”
Vijay Parmar, President of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel added: “On behalf of RBC Wealth Management, congratulations to Jessica J. Lee on being named this year’s RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award winner. We can’t wait to see what you do next. We’re incredibly proud to support this Award and the opportunity it offers our country’s rising authors to advance their literary careers.”
Kate Harris noted that Jessica J. Lee is an “uber-talented Canadian author, whose first book, Turning, I deeply admired for its gorgeous mix of memoir and nature/travel writing. It’s about the year she spent swimming a different lake every weekend as a way of moving through heartbreak and depression. I also love the fact that she’s founded a literary magazine, The Willowherb Review, to celebrate and bolster nature writing by emerging and established diverse writers. She’s definitely a nonfiction voice I want to hear more from.”
Lee enthused, “I’m completely surprised and honoured that Kate Harris selected me for the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. Since receiving the news, I’ve felt like a pool of jelly — it means a lot to me that I’ll be joining such a brilliant community of previous winners. The gift of time that an award like this brings is more than I can put into words: this will grant me time to really focus on finishing my next book and working on projects like The Willowherb Review. The opportunity to be in touch with a fellow writer, scholar, and nature-lover like Kate is extraordinary—I’m sure we’ll have quite a lot to talk about over the coming year. I’m so grateful to Kate and the award committee: thank you!”
Jessica J. Lee is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author and environmental historian. She has a BA from University of Kings College, Halifax, an MA from University of London, and a PhD in Environmental History and Aesthetics from York University in Toronto. Her first book, Turning, was published in 2017. She has lived in Berlin since 2014, where she is Writer-in-Residence at the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology.