The now year-round book prize season continued its march on Tuesday with the announcement of the five finalists for the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. The books, selected by a jury comprising The Globe and Mail’s international affairs columnist Doug Saunders, Calgary Herald editor Licia Corbella and journalist Jane O’Hara, cover topics as varied as war and urban design.
Margaret MacMillan is nominated for The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, her account of the beginnings of the First World War. Charles Montgomery’s Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design charts the possibilities of aesthetic and functional advancements in metropolitan areas. Whatever Happened to the Music Teacher? How Government Decides and Why, by Donald J. Savoie, assesses the ways in which Ottawa’s expenditure budget is shaped. Former Globe and Mail correspondent Graeme Smith takes readers inside a war zone in The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan. And Maclean’s magazine’s political editor, Paul Wells, tracks Stephen Harper’s tenure as prime minister in The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006-. Of the nominees, MacMillan and Smith have both been recognized by other significant non-fiction prizes: Smith’s book won the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction and is a finalist for both the $40,000 BC National Non-Fiction Award and the $25,000 RBC Taylor Prize; MacMillan’s history is a finalist for the same BC National Non-Fiction Award.
The winner, who will be announced in Ottawa on April 2 at the Politics and the Pen Gala, will receive $25,000.