Writers' Trust Presents John Ibbitson with Political Writing Award

Biography of Stephen Harper wins $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

OTTAWA, April 20, 2016 /CNW/ - The Writers' Trust of Canada announced tonight that John Ibbitson has won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book Stephen Harper, published by Signal/McClelland & Stewart. The announcement was made at the annual Politics and the Pen Gala at Ottawa's Fairmont Château Laurier. The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is sponsored by Aimia.

A jury composed of Canadian military historian Tim Cook, author and Globe and Mail journalist Robyn Doolittle, and McGill University professor and political commentator Antonia Maioni selected the winner. Their citation reads:

The many ways in which Canada changed during Stephen Harper's nearly 10 years in power have been well documented. But the man himself has remained a mystery. With impressive access and meticulous research, John Ibbitson writes a remarkable biography that puts us inside Harper's head during some of the most critical moments of his life, providing the definitive picture to date of one of the most significant Prime Ministers in Canadian history.

About the Author
John Ibbitson is the Globe and Mail's writer-at-large based in the Ottawa bureau. Previously, he was the newspaper's Queen's Park columnist, Ottawa political affairs correspondent, and Washington columnist and correspondent. He is the author of three earlier works of political analysis, including The Polite Revolution: Perfecting the Canadian Dream. He is a past finalist for the Donner Prize, a Governor General's Literary Award, a National Newspaper Award, a Trillium Book Award, the City of Toronto Book Award, and the BC National Award for Canadian Nonfiction. He lives in Ottawa.

About the Book
Stephen Harper reshaped Canada into a more conservative country; a transformation that his opponents tacitly admit will never be reversed. He made government smaller, justice tougher, and provinces more independent. In this comprehensive biography, John Ibbitson explores the life of the most important Canadian of our times and explains how this shy, closed, introverted loner united a fractured conservative movement, defeated a Liberal hegemony, and set out to reshape the nation.

Four finalists for this year's prize received $2,500 each:

  • Greg Donaghy for Grit: The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr., published by UBC Press

  • Norman Hillmer for O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition, published by University of Toronto Press

  • Andrew Nikiforuk for Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider's Stand Against the World's Most Powerful Industry, published by Greystone Books/David Suzuki Institute

  • Sheila Watt-Cloutier for The Right to Be Cold: One Woman's Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic, and the Whole Planet, published by Allen Lane

For more information on this year's finalists and to download images of the nominated authors and their books, visit writerstrust.com.

About the Prize
Now in its 16th 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 prize was established in honour of Shaughnessy Cohen, 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 of Canada. 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 Aimia. To date, Politics and the Pen has raised more than $3 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, financial grants, scholarships, 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.

SOURCE The Writers' Trust of Canada

For further information: For more information and interview opportunities, contact: Becky Toyne (416-871-0502, bt@beckytoyne.com)

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