2015 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing Finalist

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

Andrew Nikiforuk 
Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry
Greystone Books and the David Suzuki Institute

Andrew Nikiforuk

Jury Citation

Jessica Ernst, an oil patch consultant, lived a quiet life in rural Alberta, until one day she realized she could light her tap water on fire. A major Canadian oil company had fracked hundreds of gas wells near her home, contaminating the village’s water supply. Told through the lens of his inspiring protagonist, Andrew Nikiforuk’s book explores the history of fracking, as well as the environmental and human toll that our society’s obsession with oil has wrought. Slick Water is an impressive piece of investigative journalism and storytelling.

About the Book

When Jessica Ernst’s well water turned into a flammable broth that even her dogs refused to drink, the biologist and long-time oil patch consultant discovered that energy giant Encana had secretly fracked hundreds of gas wells around her home, piercing her community’s drinking water aquifer. Since then, her ongoing lawsuit has made her a folk hero in many places worldwide where fracking is underway. Andrew Nikiforuk weaves Ernst’s story with the science of fracking and the environmental repercussions left in its wake. Slick Water raises dramatic questions about the role of Big Oil in government and society’s obsession with rapidly depleting supplies of conventional oil and gas. Read an excerpt.

About the Author

Andrew Nikiforuk has been writing about the oil and gas industry for more than two decades. He is the author of multiple nonfiction books, including Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, winner of the prestigious Rachel Carson Environment Book Award; Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War against Big Oil, winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction; and Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests, finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize. In 2013, Nikiforuk received the Writers’ Trust’s Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life. He lives in Calgary.




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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