This article was originally published in the 2019 Fall issue of Invest In Style Magazine.

 

The Writers’ Trust of Canada’s $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing recognizes the best nonfiction books of the past year that have the potential to shape discussion on political issues Canadians should be thinking about. The annual shortlist combines compelling new insights with in-depth research and significant literary merit. Looking to learn more about a subject or be introduced to important new ideas? Be sure to check out these books!

 

 

2018 WINNER BOYS: WHAT IT MEANS TO BECOME A MAN, BY RACHEL GIESE

Drawing on extensive research and interviews with educators, activists, parents, psychologists, sociologists, and young men, Rachel Giese highlights initiatives that demonstrate how damaging perceptions of masculinity can be unlearned.

“With a skillful mix of original reporting, scholarly research, and personal anecdotes, Rachel Giese presents a deeply felt examination of the forces that shape how boys see themselves and how we see them.” —Jury Citation

 

2018 FINALIST HOMES: A REFUGEE STORY, BY ABU BAKR AL RABEEAH AND WINNIE YEUNG

This is the true story of how a young boy emerged from a war zone and found safety in Canada. As told to her by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah, Winnie Yeung recounts a journey that provides a new window of understanding into today’s Syrian conflict.

“This extraordinary story is about the resilience of family in the face of profound terror; Yeung writes with a deceptively simple, meticulously observing eye and novelistic attention to plot and character.” —Jury Citation

 

2018 FINALIST BREACHING THE PEACE: THE SITE C DAM AND A VALLEY’S STAND AGAINST BIG HYDRO, BY SARAH COX

Sarah Cox weaves the stories of expropriated farmers and First Nations’ leaders into an exposé of Big Hydro and its power to erode land, rights, and the ability to embrace alternative clean energy sources.

“Cox elevates this story by taking readers around the globe, from Brazil to Ukraine to China, where other hydroelectric dams have deeply impacted communities. This is the gripping and extraordinary story of a community resisting a powerful Crown corporation to protect the Peace Valley.” —Jury Citation

 

2018 FINALIST PIPE DREAMS: THE FIGHT FOR CANADA’S ENERGY FUTURE, BY JACQUES POITRAS

Pipe Dreams is the story of the rise and fall of the Energy East pipeline. Conceived as a back-up plan to the stalled Keystone XL pipeline, it became a crucible for national debate over the future of oil.

“Remarkably researched, original, and captivating, Pipe Dreams details the ubiquitous significance of the oil and gas industry in Canada. This is a vivid cross-country journey through the national debate over complex environmental and economic anxieties and the future of oil.” —Jury Citation

 

2018 FINALIST BIG LONELY DOUG: THE STORY OF ONE OF CANADA’S LAST GREAT TREES, BY HARLEY RUSTAD

In 2011, a logger came across a 230-foot Douglas fir while walking through a stand of old-growth forest on Vancouver Island. He marked it to remain untouched. In its isolation, the Douglas fir came to exemplify both the grandeur of such trees and the plight of their survival.

“A brilliant story about the challenges, losses, and triumphs of conservation today. Rustad is a careful reporter and an excellent storyteller, combining these skills to weave together the ecology of British Columbia and the politics of contemporary environmentalism into a single engaging narrative about Big Lonely Doug, one of Canada’s last great trees.” —Jury Citation

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