Andrew Nikiforuk for Slick Water among finalists for 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize “awarded to a book of literary non-fiction on a political subject of relevance to Canadians”

Andrew Nikiforuk, Sheila Watt-Cloutier among finalists for 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for political writing by Becky Robertson, March 2, 2016, Quill & Quire

The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced the five finalists for the 2016 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing on March 2. The prize, now in its 16th year, is awarded to a book of literary non-fiction on a political subject of relevance to Canadians, and is named in honour of the outspoken member of Parliament. The winner of the $25,000 prize will be named on April 20 at the trust’s Politics and the Pen Gala in Ottawa.

The finalists, chosen by a jury including military historian Tim Cook, Globe and Mail journalist Robyn Doolittle, and McGill University professor Antonia Maioni, are:

  • Greg Donaghy, Grit: The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr. (UBC Press)
  • Norman Hillmer, O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition (University of Toronto Press)

Shaughnessy Cohen Prize announces finalists by The Canadian Press, March 2, 2016, Blackburn news

Shaughnessy Cohen Prize finalists include books on Harper, fracking, climate change by CBC Books, March 2, 2016

2016 03 02 shaughnessy cohen prize finalists include books on harper, fracking, climate change

A biography of Stephen Harper and an argument for climate change as a human rights issue are among the finalists for the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, the Writers’ Trust of Canada announced on Wednesday morning.

Now in its sixteenth year, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is awarded annually to a work of literary nonfiction that balances depth of research with significant literary merit. Recent nominees include Naomi Klein, John Ralston Saul and Noah Richler.

The shortlist was selected by a jury composed of Canadian military historian Tim Cook, journalist Robyn Doolittle and political commentator Antonia Maioni.

2016 03 02 cbc image of covers, shaughnessy cohen prize finalists include books on harper, fracking, climate change

The winner will be announced at the Politics and the Pen Gala in Ottawa on April 20. [Emphasis added]

‘Stephen Harper’ among finalists for Shaughnessy Cohen Prize by The Canadian Press, March 2, 2016, iPolitics

‘Stephen Harper’ among finalists for Shaughnessy Cohen Prize, The winner will be announced in Ottawa on April 20 by The Canadian Press, March 02, 2016, CBC News

Stephen Harper's Supreme Court

Harper, Martin Sr. biographies shortlisted for Shaughnessy Cohen Prize by Mark Medley, March 2, 2016, The Globe and Mail

‘Stephen Harper’ among finalists for Shaughnessy Cohen Prize by The Canadian Press, March 2, 2016, 680News

2016 03 02 Writer's Trust announceds year's best political books, Shaughnessy-Cohen-Shortlist-2015 includes Andrew Nikiforuk's Slick Water

Writers’ Trust Announces Year’s Best Political Books, Shortlist examines great Canadian political lives, environmental policy Press Release by Writer’s Trust, March 2, 2016

March 2, 2016 – Toronto – The Writers’ Trust of Canada has named the five finalists for the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. The winner will be announced in Ottawa on April 20, 2016, at the Politics and the Pen Gala.

Finalist books include a biography of an ambitious Liberal reformer; a portrait of one of the country’s most influential public servants; a profile of Canada’s 22nd Prime Minister; a treatise on Big Oil and the fracking industry; and an argument for climate change as a human rights issue in Canada’s North.

The finalists, selected by a jury composed of Canadian military historian Tim Cook, author and Globe and Mail journalist Robyn Doolittle, and McGill University professor and political commentator Antonia Maioni, are:

2016 03 02 Shaughnessy-Cohen-Shortlist-2015 w Slick Water

Greg Donaghy for Grit: The Life and Politics of Paul Martin Sr., published by UBC Press

Norman Hillmer for O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition, published by University of Toronto Press

John Ibbitson for Stephen Harper, published by Signal/McClelland & Stewart

Andrew Nikiforuk for Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry, published by Greystone Books and the David Suzuki Institute

Sheila Watt-Cloutier for The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic, and the Whole Planet, published by Allen Lane

The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is sponsored by Aimia and supported by the Politics and the Pen Gala. Read more information on this year’s finalists, or download images of the nominated authors and their books.

Shaughnessy-Cohen-medal

Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

About the Prize
Now in its sixteenth year, the prize is awarded annually for a book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life. The winning work combines compelling new insights with depth of research and is of significant literary merit. The prize particularly values books which provide the general reader with an informed, unique perspective on the practice of Canadian politics, its players, or its principles.

The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was established in honour of the outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, Ontario.

About Politics and the Pen
Politics and the Pen is a highlight of the capital’s social calendar and an important annual fundraising event benefiting the Writers’ Trust. Held at the Fairmont Château Laurier, the event attracts 500 guests from Canada’s political and literary circles. Three platinum sponsors are crucial to the night’s success – dinner sponsor Microsoft Canada, reception sponsor CIBC, and prize sponsor Aimia. To date, Politics and the Pen has raised more than $3 million to support the programs of the Writers’ Trust.

About the Writers’ Trust
The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs including literary awards, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country.

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For more information and interview opportunities, contact:
Becky Toyne, 416-871-0502
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[Refer also to:

2015 12 16 Slick Water, best seller in non-textbooks, University of Victoria Book Store

Slick Water, Best Seller at UVIc Bookstore

“Brass-Knuckled Lawyers” Cory Wanless & Murray Klippenstein! Slick Water Book Review in Publishers Weekly

PW

CBC’s Donna McElligott interview with Andrew Nikiforuk September 21, 2015

Interview starts at 9 Min. to 17:47

Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry Quill & Quire review by Nadya Domingo, 2015

Andrew Nikiforuk is no stranger to environmental controversies. In his new book, the author of Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil and Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of the Continent brings us an intimate account of an Albertan woman’s complex, frustrating, and frankly soul-diminishing attempt to take down a powerful Canadian energy company. Her primary struggle is against the invasive and often destructive practice of oil fracking. What begins as a concern about groundwater quality turns into an international fight against the world’s most powerful industry.

Slick Water Andrew Nikiforu October 2015We don’t meet Jessica Ernst, dubbed “Canada’s Erin Brockovich,” right away. Nikiforuk opens the book with a retelling of the gruesome 1985 explosion of a Dress for Less department store in Los Angeles, an event that ignited a continent-wide discussion about hydraulic fracturing. The scene is a meticulously detailed prologue to Nikiforuk’s story, which is, without a doubt, a carefully researched behemoth. Slick Water is not only an educational read devoid of confusing legal and environmental jargon, it also features a powerful protagonist to represent the problem.

One of the first things we learn about Ernst is that she’s a childhood rape survivor. Initially, Nikiforuk’s invocation of Ernst’s trauma seems jarring, but he draws meaning from it. Throughout his book, Nikiforuk implies that, like rape, fracking involves not only a major power imbalance, but also shameless abuse of that power. The book is a damning and risky portrayal of Encana Corporation, the key alleged abuser in the tale, which Nikiforuk characterizes as the company that “had knowingly raped her community’s aquifer.”

Throughout the book, there’s a subtle feminist undertone: Ernst is living proof that powerful men shamelessly and egregiously muzzle women, simply because they can. But Nikiforuk also demonstrates that practically nothing can stop Ernst – if a door is slammed in her face, she’ll fearlessly knock its hinges off in her determined quest for justice.

***

Slick Water is available in libraries, online and in stores.

2016 03 03 Andrew Nikiforuk's Slick Water distributed by National Library of Australia Bookshop

One of the reviews on amazon.ca:

2016 03 01 Slick Water review by Brent Wilder at amazon.ca

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