Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing Finalist

Trudeau Transformed

Max and Monique Nemni
(authors), George Tombs (translator)
Trudeau Transformed
Published by McClelland & Stewart

Monique and Max Nemni

Jury Citation

Max and Monique Nemni’s biography of Pierre Elliott Trudeau is not “just another book on Trudeau.” The authors in their magisterial second volume in the Trudeau, Son of Québec, Father of Canada series, trace the development of Trudeau as a political thinker and a political leader. With superb access to the prime minister’s papers and with astonishing attention to detail, the authors chart the political development of one of Canada’s most important leaders. This is the intellectual history of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, but it also the story of his emergence as a political leader where theories and ideas bumped up against the practical demands of politics. For Canadians interested in the story of the political formation of a charismatic prime minister, this is an important book.

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About the Book

Trudeau Transformed requires readers to re-think much of what we thought we knew about the intellectual development of Canada’s legendary Prime Minister between the pro-fascist sympathies of his youth to his entry into federal politics. Postgraduate study and travel abroad exposed the future leader to new ideas, which would find their expression in the 50s and 60s as Trudeau became a leading writer and commentator on contemporary Canada and Quebec. The Nemnis demonstrate how he developed into the modern liberal statesman and how far from being the rootless outsider of myth, Trudeau, through this period, was carefully training himself to become a political leader.

About the Authors

Max and Monique Nemni are retired university professors who spent most of their working lives in Quebec. They were friends of Trudeau, who encouraged them to become the editors of Cité Libre magazine and agreed to let them write his intellectual biography. The first volume of their Trudeau biography won this prize in 2006. The Nemnis live in Toronto.

About the Translator

George Tombs is a journalist, historian, and translator. He is the author of Robber Baron: Lord Black of Crossharbour. Tombs lives in Montreal.

Samara Canada sat down with Max and Monique Nemni for a Q&A about their experience writing Trudeau Transformed 1944–1965. Read the interview here.

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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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