Writers’ Trust Names Finalists for Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing: Five Books Explore Canadian Politics Past and Present

March 27, 2018 – Toronto – The Writers’ Trust of Canada has named the five finalists for the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. The winner will be announced in Ottawa on May 9, 2018, at the annual Politics and the Pen gala.


Finalist books include biographies of the tenth prime minister of Canada and the first prime minister of the Dominion of Newfoundland, a journalist’s and a soldier’s two very different perspectives on the personal impacts of war, and an investigation of the lives and tragic deaths of seven Indigenous high school students.


The finalists, selected by a jury composed of University of Victoria professor of Indigenous governance Taiaiake Alfred, former Shaughnessy Cohen Prize winner and University of Toronto professor Joseph Heath, and political journalist and commentator Kady O’Malley, are:


  • Christopher Dummitt for Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press
  • Carol Off for All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others, published by Random House Canada
  • Sandra Perron for Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada’s First Female Infantry Officer, published by Cormorant Books
  • Ted Rowe for Robert Bond: The Greatest Newfoundlander, published by Creative Book Publishing/Breakwater Books
  • Tanya Talaga for Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City, published by House of Anansi Press


The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is sponsored by CN and supported by the Politics and the Pen gala. For more information on this year’s finalists and to download images of the nominated authors and their books, visit writerstrust.com/ShaughnessyCohenPrize.


About the Prize

Now in its 18th year, the prize is awarded annually for a book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life. The winning work combines compelling new insights with depth of research and is of significant literary merit. The prize particularly values books which provide the general reader with an informed, unique perspective on the practice of Canadian politics, its players, or its principles.


The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was established in honour of the outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, Ontario.


About Politics and the Pen

Politics and the Pen is a highlight of the capital’s social calendar and an important annual fundraising event benefiting the Writers’ Trust. Held at the Fairmont Château Laurier, the event attracts 500 guests from Canada’s political and literary circles. Three platinum sponsors are crucial to the night’s success: dinner sponsor Microsoft Canada, reception sponsor CIBC, and prize sponsor CN. To date, Politics and the Pen has raised more than $3.7 million to support the programs of the Writers’ Trust.


About the Writers’ Trust

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs including literary awards, a fellowship, financial grants, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country. For further information visit writerstrust.com.