Two Globe and Mail reporters have been named finalists for one of the country's largest non-fiction awards – John Ibbitson, for an exhaustive biography of Stephen Harper released in the dying days of his prime ministership, and Roy MacGregor, for a narrative journey through Canada's long love affair with the canoe.
Mr. Ibbitson and Mr. MacGregor are among 10 authors included Tuesday in the longlist for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. The award, which will be handed out in Vancouver early next year, comes with a $40,000 prize.
Mr. Ibbitson's book, titled simply Stephen Harper, traces the former Conservative prime minister's life from his roots in suburban Toronto to the start of his political career in Alberta, eventually leading the Canadian Alliance and uniting the modern-day Conservative Party.
Mr. Ibbitson describes Mr. Harper as a "lion in autumn, weaker than in his prime, but still a force of nature," and details what the author argues is an irreversible mark the Conservative prime minister left on the country after nearly a decade in office.
Mr. MacGregor's Canoe Country: The Making of Canada, traces the country's relationship with the canoe, which he describes as the country's "first and still favourite means for getting around." Canoe Country – Mr. MacGregor's 50th book – weaves a series of stories involving icons such as Pierre Trudeau and taking readers as far afield as the Nile River in Sudan.
Geographer James Raffan, the director of development at the Canadian Canoe Museum who reviewed Canoe Country in The Globe, wrote that the tales in Mr. MacGregor's book are "spun as if with twirls of wood smoke around an open fire."
The award's organizers say 137 books were nominated for the prize before the jury narrowed down the list to 10.