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Shaughnessy Cohen 2013

Writers’ Trust Honours One of Canada’s Foremost Political Commentators

Paul Wells wins $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

April 2, 2014 – Ottawa – The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced tonight at the Politics and the Pen gala that journalist Paul Wells has won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006 — , published by Random House Canada.

The $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is sponsored by Bell Media and supported by Politics and the Pen.

A jury composed of Calgary Herald editorial page editor Licia Corbella, journalist Jane O’Hara, and Globe and Mail international affairs columnist Doug Saunders selected the winner. Their citation reads:

Veteran political columnist Paul Wells has crafted a fast-paced, romping great read about a Prime Minister who is frequently described by the Parliamentary Press Gallery as dull, plodding, and inscrutable. Though viscerally funny and often biting, this book is never partisan or unfair. Impeccably researched, gorgeously written, and deeply insightful, The Longer I’m Prime Minister is an essential read for all political junkies.

About the Author

Paul Wells is the political editor of Maclean’s magazine. He has worked for the National Postand the Gazette (Montreal), and has written for L’actualite, La Presse, Time, and the Literary Review of Canada. His previous book, Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper’s New Conservatism, was chosen as one of the Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years by the Writers’ Trust of Canada and Samara. He lives in Ottawa and can be followed on Twitter at @InklessPW.

About the Book

The Longer I’m Prime Minister explains Stephen Harper not only to Harper supporters but also to readers who can’t believe he’s already been in power longer than Lester B. Pearson and John Diefenbaker. Wells delivers an authoritative, engaging, and critical account of the Prime Minister since his Conservative Party won the federal election in 2006. Relying on a trove of sources, Wells explores how no matter the ups and downs, the triumphs and the self-inflicted wounds, Harper has been moving to build the Canada he wants – the Canada a significant portion of Canadian voters want or they wouldn’t have elected him three times.

Four finalists for this year’s prize received $2,500 each:

MacMillanMargaret MacMillan for The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914
Published by Allen Lane Canada

MontgomeryCharles Montgomery for Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design
Published by Doubleday Canada


SavoieDonald J. Savoie for Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher? How Government Decides and Why
Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press

SmithGraeme Smith for The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan,
Published by Knopf Canada


For further information on this year’s winner and finalists and to download high-resolution images of the authors and their books, visit

About the Prize

Now in its fourteenth 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.

About Shaughnessy Cohen

The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was established in honour of the outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, Ontario, who died on December 9, 1998.

About Politics and the Pen

Politics and the Pen is the highlight of the capital’s spring social calendar and an important annual fundraising event benefiting the Writers’ Trust. Held at the Fairmont Ch√Ęteau Laurier, the event attracts 500 guests from the city’s political and literary circles. Microsoft Canada sponsors the Politics and the Pen dinner, and MTS Allstream Inc. sponsors the Politics and the Pen pre-dinner and post-dinner receptions. To date, the Politics and the Pen Gala has raised $2.5 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


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