THE recipient for THE 2017 RBC TAYLOR Emerging Writer Award


Cassi Smith, a Saskatchewan based graduate student and writer who was recently awarded a Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship has been named the recipient of the 2017 RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award by Ross King, winner of the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize for his book Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of Water Lilies. The Award consists of a $10,000 cash prize and mentorship by Mr. King.
      "It's a tremendous privilege for me to select the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author. My search for a young, compelling writer who is positively engaged with the world was answered when I discovered Cassi Smith. I am impressed with her empathic writing and commitment to human values, which she explores without judgment or sentimentality. Hers is a voice that deserves to be heard, along with the voices of those that she writes about," said Ross King.
      Ms. Smith is currently working toward a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan and is working on a collection of nonfiction short stories based on her interviews with Saskatchewan’s First Nations Elders.
      In learning that she had won the Award, Cassi Smith said: “It is an honour to be the 2017 recipient of the RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award. !”I'm stunned and delighted to be this year's recipient. I'm still staggering around in disbelief. “
      “My project is a collection of nonfiction short stories, based on interviews I conducted with Saskatchewan’s First Nations Elders. Through my mother’s second marriage I inherited an amazing extended family that introduced me to Cree Métis culture. Through this bond my family has learned, listened, participated and connected to First Nations culture on a practical and spiritual level. In 2005 I began working closely with my own family members and other Saskatchewan Elders in a process called Opikinawasowin.”
      Delighted at the news, RBC Taylor Prize Founder Noreen Taylor commented: "When colleagues at RBC Wealth Management and the Charles Taylor Foundation trustees look at the qualities they desire for their Emerging Author, Cassi Smith exemplifies them. She has that rare blend of a gift for storytelling, dedication to research, and inherent curiosity that all hallmarks of great writers of non-fiction. Considering that these are the same qualities that describe the work of Ross King, I think we can look forward to Cassi Smith's bright future."
      Vijay Parmar, president of RBC PH&N Investment Counsel added: “On behalf of RBC Wealth Management, we congratulate Cassi Smith on being named this year’s RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award recipient. We believe that offering aspiring Canadian writers opportunities for mentorship, exposure and financial assistance will make a considerable difference to their careers and further influence our country’s cultural landscape for generations to come.”


The RBC Taylor Emerging Writer Award was established to provide recognition and assistance to a Canadian published author who is working on a significant writing project, preferably but not limited to literary non-fiction. Through mentorship from the nominating author, and the cash award, it is intended that the writer will be able to progress toward the creation of a first draft.