Spanning topics that include innovation, societal values, Indigenous economics, eldercare and national and international security, five books have been nominated for the 2021 Donner Prize, an award that recognizes the top public policy book written by a Canadian.
Finalists for the $50,000 award include Globe and Mail health reporter and columnist André Picard, for his Neglected No More: The Urgent Need to Improve the Lives of Canada’s Elders in the Wake of a Pandemic. Published by Random House Canada, the book is in part a public policy analysis, a warning and a prescriptive call to action.
Picard has authored six bestselling books. In December, he was awarded the 2021 Sandford Fleming Medal for excellence in science communication by the Royal Canadian Institute for Science.
Neglected No More was shortlisted for the first Writers’ Trust Balsillie Prize for Public Policy last year, but lost to Dan Breznitz’s Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World. That book, published by Oxford University Press, is also shortlisted for the 2021 Donner Prize.
Breznitz is a University of Toronto professor and chair of Innovation Studies in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. His previous books include Innovation and the State, Run of the Red Queen and The Third Globalization.
The Donner short list was chosen by a jury chaired by David Dodge, a former governor of the Bank of Canada. The other jury members were Louise Fréchette, one-time deputy secretary-general of the United Nations; Karen Restoule, chief executive officer of a consulting firm supporting Indigenous communities; Fred Wien, former director of the Maritime School of Social Work at Dalhousie University; McGill University economics professor Jean-Marie Dufour; and former B.C. deputy minister Brenda Eaton.
The three other shortlisted authors are:
Mark Carney, for Value(s): Building a Better World For All, published by Signal/McClelland & Stewart.
The book was hailed in the Guardian as a “weighty assault on the modern free market.” Carney is a former governor of the Bank of England and the Bank of Canada, and is currently a United Nations special envoy on climate action and vice chair of Brookfield Asset Management.
Stephanie Carvin, for Stand On Guard: Reassessing Threats to Canada’s National Security, published by University of Toronto Press.
With her book, the Ottawa-based professor and former security analyst with the Government of Canada, takes a deep dive into clandestine foreign influence and argues that Canada has largely turned a blind eye to the threat of economic espionage and cyber terrorism.
Carol Anne Hilton, for Indigenomics: Taking a Seat at the Economic Table, published by New Society Publishers.
The Victoria-based author is the founder of the Indigenomics Institute. Her book argues that Indigenous economic empowerment is not only imperative but in the best interests of the entire country.
The finalists were selected from 82 titles, submitted by 35 publishers. Previous Donner-winning books include Jeffrey Simpson’s Chronic Condition: Why Canada’s Health Care System Needs to be Dragged into the 21st Century, Doug Saunders’s Arrival City: The Final Migration and Our Next World, and, last year, Joseph Heath’s The Machinery of Government.
The 2021 Donner Prize will be presented at a gala dinner in Toronto on May 31.
Expand your mind and build your reading list with the Books newsletter. Sign up today.