Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

John A. Macdonald Bio Wins Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

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Richard Gwyn at Shaughnessy Cohen Prize ceremony 2012 (Photo Credit: Jake Wright)

Richard Gwyn, a political columnist for The Toronto Star, has been awarded the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times; Volume Two: 1867–1891 (Random House Canada).

A jury composed of journalist David Akin, historian Charlotte Gray and political scientist Janice Gross Stein chose Nation Maker for its portrayal of Macdonald as “a politician who was far more shrewd and tough than either the debonair image he himself cultivated or the caricature imprinted on too much of our history.”

Each of the the four finalists for this year’s prize received $2,500:

Ron Graham for The Last Act: Pierre Trudeau, the Gang of Eight, and the Fight for Canada (Allen Lane Canada)

Max and Monique Nemni (authors) and George Tombs (translator) for Trudeau Transformed: The Shaping of a Statesman, 1944–1965 (McClelland & Stewart)

Andrew Nikiforuk for Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests (Greystone Books/David Suzuki Foundation)

Jacques Poitras for Imaginary Line: Life on an Unfinished Border (Goose Lane Editions)

Open Book spoke with all five of the award’s finalists. You can read each interview from the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize Series here.

For more information about the award and this year's finalists, visit

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