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Chris Turner has won the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book How to Be a Climate Optimist: Blueprints for a Better World.

The award for the Penguin Random House Canada title was announced Wednesday night at the Politics and the Pen fundraising event in Ottawa.

In their citation, the jury for the prize said Mr. Turner’s book is a “masterclass” in brisk, vivid storytelling.

“The climate debate is inherently pessimistic, and while Chris Turner doesn’t pretend that crafting policy to slow global warming is easy, he presents a compelling argument: doom and gloom is not an effective strategy,” said the jury.

Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing nominees reflect on response to their books

Publisher Penguin Random House Canada said of Mr. Turner’s book that the author was condensing the first quarter-century of the global energy transition “into bite-sized chunks of optimistic reflection and reportage, telling a story of a planet in peril and a global effort already beginning to save it.”

They added, “This is a book that moves past the despair and futile anger over ecological collapse and harnesses that passion toward the project of building a twenty-first century quality of life that surpasses the twentieth-century version in every way.”

In remarks to the gala gathering at which the prize was announced, Mr. Turner said he was surprised to have won.

“That is not false modesty,” he told an audience of authors, journalists, cabinet ministers, MPs and others.

“The other books that my book stands next to are all extraordinary books worthy of this prize, worthy of your attention as a reader.”

Of climate change, Mr. Turner said the journey to a cleaner future has begun.

The prize, sponsored by CN and handed out at the Politics and the Pen gala, honours a book of literary non-fiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life.

The prize is named for the late Windsor MP. Each finalist receives $2,500, with co-authors sharing the same prize amount.

There were five other finalist authors for the 2023 prize:

Kinauvit?: What’s your Name? The Eskimo Disk System and a Daughter’s Search for her Grandmother by Norma Dunning.

From Left to Right: Saskatchewan’s Political and Economic Transformation by Dale Eisler.

Sideways: The City Google Couldn’t Buy by Josh O’Kane, a reporter for The Globe and Mail.

Valley of the Birdtail: An Indian Reserve, a White Town, and the Road to Reconciliation by Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson (Amo Binashii).

Jurors for the prize this year are Terri E. Givens, author, editor and professor of political science at McGill University, pollster Nik Nanos of Nanos Research, and past prize finalist Jacques Poitras, a provincial affairs journalist for the CBC based in New Brunswick.

The 2022 winner was Toronto Star journalist Joanna Chiu, who won for her book China Unbound: A New World Disorder.

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