Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction Finalist

Nation Maker

Richard Gwyn

Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times; Volume Two: 1867-1891
Published by Random House Canada

Richard Gwyn



Jury Citation

In Richard Gwyn’s Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times; Volume Two: 1867-1891, a vast amount of research and new information is crafted into a remarkably readable and fast-moving biography. This is history as it should be written: visual, tactile and full of characters who step off the page fully-formed, carrying with them a reader’s understanding of an entirely separate period in time. Constructing a complete picture of a complex politician, statesman, husband and flawed human being, Gwyn has done a great service for Canadians who want to understand their own nation — especially because the book so beautifully integrates the birth of Canada with Macdonald’s own journey. To have done it with such clear and accessible writing makes a tribute to a great Canadian statesman a tribute to a great writer as well.

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About the Book

This is the second volume of an award-winning biography of Canada’s first and most important prime minister, the man who made Confederation happen and went on to build this country over the next quarter century. Richard Gwyn discusses in detail how Macdonald dealt with Louis Riel's two rebellions and determinedly pursued the construction of the railroad that would link east to west and thereby help to forge a nation. The book also offers personal glimpses of this very public politician’s life, such as his second marriage, the birth of a disabled child, and the assassination of a close friend.

About the Author

The first volume of Richard Gwyn’s biography of Macdonald, John A: The Man Who Made Us, won the 2007 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. It was recently named one of the Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years by the Writers’ Trust of Canada and Samara. Nation Maker is a finalist for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award. Gwyn lives in Toronto.

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Author | Book




Woodcock Fund



Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


September 19 for books published between June 20 and September 18, 2018


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


July 18 for books published between May 16 and Sept 30, 2018


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