Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500     
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2016 Winner

Brown by Kamal Al-Solaylee 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing finalist

Kamal Al-Solaylee
Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone)
HarperCollins Canada

Kamal Al-Solaylee

"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."

-2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize jury


Christie Blatchford Life Sentence 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing finalistChristie 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 The Vimy Trap 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing finalistIan 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 Turmoil, As Usual 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing finalistJames McLeod for Turmoil, as Usual: Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Road to the 2015 Election, published by Creative Publishers


Noah Richler The Candidate 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for PoliticalWriting finalistNoah Richler for The Candidate: Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, published by Doubleday Canada



2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize jury 

Nahlah Ayed is a CBC foreign correspondent based in London. A veteran of international reportage, she began her career covering the Middle East for nearly a decade. Prior to joining CBC News, Ayed was a parliamentary reporter for The Canadian Press. She is the author of the memoir A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter’s Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring, which was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction in 2012.

Colby Cosh is a columnist for the National Post. He served on the newspaper’s editorial board from 2007-09 before becoming an assistant editor and columnist at Maclean’s magazine, where he was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2013. A native and resident of Edmonton, Colby was the editor of the Second World War volume of the Alberta in the 20th Century book series.

Megan Leslie is vice president, Oceans for World Wildlife Fund Canada. She is a former Member of Parliament for Halifax and served as the NDP’s environment critic and deputy leader of the Official Opposition. In 2015, she was named a Top 10 Environmental Leader in Canada by Power & Influence magazine. In the same year, she was also named one of the most influential people in government and politics by The Hill Times. Leslie lives in Halifax.

Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

About the Prize

Now in its 18th year, the prize is awarded annually for a book of literary nonfiction published the previous year 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.

Shaughnessy COhen

About Shaughnessy Cohen

The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was established in 2000 in honour of the outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, who died on December 9, 1998 after collapsing in the House of Commons. Affectionately known as “Radio Shaughnessy,” Shaughnessy Cohen was beloved for her sense of humour and devoted friendship. She was a lawyer by training and used her legal background as chair of the Commons Justice Committee. The same year the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was established, journalist Susan Delacourt published a biography, The Passionate Politics of Shaughnessy Cohen.




Woodcock Fund



Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize


May 16 for books published between Mar 14 and May 15, 2018


Recommended Reading List

We asked some of Canada's finest writers about their favourite reads in 2017.

Read their Recommendations.


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