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Arts Tanya Talaga, Carol Off among finalists for Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

Tanya Talaga.

Books by veteran journalists who delved into uncomfortable truths about Indigenous youth and Afghan immigrants are among the finalists for a lucrative political writing prize.

The shortlist for the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize includes Tanya Talaga’s “Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City,” published by House of Anansi Press. It won the $30,000 RBC Taylor Prize last month and was also a finalist for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for nonfiction, and the $40,000 B.C. Non-Fiction Prize.

It traces the lives and tragic deaths of seven Indigenous high school students.

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Meanwhile, Carol Off’s “All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others,” published by Random House Canada, looks at an Afghan family forced to flee to Canada after exposing a dangerous warlord. It won the B.C. prize and was a finalist for the $25,000 Governor General’s Award for Non-fiction and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.

Other contenders include soldier Sandra Perron’s “Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada’s First Female Infantry Officer,” published by Cormorant Books; author Ted Rowe’s “Robert Bond: The Greatest Newfoundlander,” published by Creative Book Publishing/Breakwater Books; and historian Christopher Dummitt’s “Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life,” published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

The winner will be announced May 9 in Ottawa at the annual Politics and the Pen gala.

The prize was established in 2000 in honour of the late Windsor, Ont., MP Shaughnessy Cohen.

The finalists were selected by a jury composed of University of Victoria professor of Indigenous governance Taiaiake Alfred, former Shaughnessy Cohen Prize winner and University of Toronto professor Joseph Heath, and political journalist and commentator Kady O’Malley.

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