Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500     
Sponsored by
Aimia logo

2014 Winner

Enlightenment 2.0

Joseph Heath 
Enlightenment 2.0: Restoring Sanity to Our Politics, Our Economy, and Our Lives 
HarperCollins Publishers


Joseph Heath

Jury Citation

A magisterial survey of the shambles that remains of the Enlightenment’s great promise, Joseph Heath’s Enlightenment 2.0 is a vivid chronicle of the descent of contemporary politics into a bedlam of competing irrationalities and appeals to unreason. Drawing deeply from popular culture, the social sciences, psychology, and public policy, Enlightenment 2.0 is an important work of serious philosophy that is at the same time lively, lucid, engaging, and entertaining.

About the Book

For 20 years, the political systems of the western world have increasingly become divided—not between right and left, but between crazy and non-crazy, says Joseph Heath. The rapid-fire pace of modern politics makes it difficult for the voice of reason to be heard. Sanity cannot be restored by speaking in a reasonable tone. The only way sanity can return is by engaging in collective action against the social conditions that have crowded it out. Heath argues the solution lies in a new “slow politics.” Enlightenment 2.0 takes as its point of departure recent psychological and philosophical research, which identifies the social and environmental preconditions for the exercise of rational thought.

About the Author

Joseph Heath is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. He is the author of numerous academic and popular works, including Filthy Lucre, The Efficient Society, and (with Andrew Potter) The Rebel Sell. Heath received a Trudeau fellowship in 2012. He lives in Toronto. 


Chantal H├ębert
with Jean Lapierre for The Morning After: The 1995 Quebec Referendum and the Day that Almost Was, published by Knopf Canada

Naomi Klein
 for This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs. the Climate, published by Knopf Canada

John Ralston Saul
for The Comeback: How Aboriginals Are Reclaiming Power and Influence, published by Viking Canada

Graham Steele
 for What I Learned About Politics: Inside the Rise—and Collapse—of Nova Scotia’s NDP Government, published by Nimbus Publishing


This year's Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing winner was announced on March 11 at Politics and the Pen in Ottawa. The winner and finalists were selected by a jury comprising author Denise Chong, author and Ottawa Citizen columnist Terry Glavin, and The Globe and Mail Atlantic bureau chief Jane Taber.

About the Prize

Now in its fifteenth 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.

About Shaughnessy Cohen

The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was established in honour of the outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, Ontario, who died on December 9, 1998.



Woodcock Fund




Recommended Reading List

We asked some of Canada's finest writers about the books they'll be reading this summer.

Read their Recommendations.


E Newsletter Sign Up

Sign-up for our eNewsletter. Get info about Authors and our latest Events.

Sign up now!

Site design & development supported by

ecentricarts inc