Writers' Trust Presents Kamal Al-Solaylee with Political Writing Award

$25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize winner explores being brown in today's world

OTTAWA, May 10, 2017 /CNW/ - The Writers' Trust of Canada announced tonight that Kamal Al-Solaylee has won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (to Everyone), published by HarperCollins Canada. 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 Inc. 

A jury composed of CBC foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed, National Post columnist Colby Cosh, and former Member of Parliament Megan Leslie selected the winner. Their citation reads:  

Not black, not white, but brown: how do skin colour and its shades play out in our relationships, our economy, and our politics? Kamal Al-Solaylee's book dares to propose and define an emerging racial category, drawing on a lifetime's travel and inquiry to discuss the common experience and the awkward status of the Latin, Asian, and Mediterranean peoples of the fast-rising global south. Thoughtful and refreshing, Brown has a chance to become a made-in-Canada intellectual landmark.

About the Author 
Kamal Al-Solaylee is an associate professor at the School of Journalism at Ryerson University. His first book Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes won the Toronto Book Award and was a finalist for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, a Lambda Literary Award, and CBC's Canada Reads. Born in Yemen, Al-Solaylee was the national theatre critic for The Globe and Mail and holds a PhD in Victorian literature from the University of Nottingham. He lives in Toronto. 

About the Book 
Historically, issues of race and skin colour have been interpreted along black and white lines, leaving out millions of people whose stories of migration and racial experiences have shaped our modern world. Brown is packed with storytelling and on-the-street reporting conducted over two years in ten countries from four continents that reveals a multitude of lives and stories. It contains striking research about immigration, workers' lives and conditions, and the pursuit of a lighter shade of brown as a global status symbol. It is also a personal book, as the author, originally from Yemen, reflects on his own identity and experiences as a brown-skinned person  who has grown up with images of whiteness as the only indicators of beauty and desire.

$2,500 is awarded to each of the remaining finalist books:  

  • Christie Blatchford for Life Sentence: Stories from Four Decades of Court Reporting – Or, How I Fell Out of Love with the Canadian Justice System (Especially Judges), published by Doubleday Canada

  • Ian McKay and Jamie Swift for The Vimy Trap: Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War, published by Between the Lines

  • James McLeod for Turmoil, as Usual: Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Road to the 2015 Election, published by Creative Publishers

  • Noah Richler for The Candidate: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, published by Doubleday Canada

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 17th 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 Inc. 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: and interview opportunities, contact: Michaela Cornell 647-274-6112 mcornell@rogers.com

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