Writers’ Trust Rewards Author for Reportage on International Barricades: Marcello Di Cintio Wins the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
March 6, 2013 – Ottawa – The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced tonight at the Politics and the Pen gala that Marcello Di Cintio has won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, published by Goose Lane Editions.
The $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is sponsored by Bell Media and supported by Politics and the Pen.
A jury composed of politician and political scientist Ed Broadbent, National Post and iPolitics.cacolumnist Tasha Kheiriddin, and novelist and translator Daniel Poliquin selected the winner. Their citation reads:
When Ronald Reagan exhorted Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, it was not only a political act. As Marcello Di Cintio discovers, walls divide far more than nations. In this beautifully written reportage, the author brings readers the personal stories – gripping, haunting, humorous, and inspiring – of people living against walls around the world, from the “peaceline” of Belfast to the l’Acadie fence of Montreal.
About Marcello Di Cintio
Marcello Di Cintio’s first book, Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa, won the Henry Kreisel Award for Best First Book, and his second book, Poets and Pahlevans: A Journey Into the Heart of Iran, won the Wilfred Eggleston Prize. He has written for numerous magazines, journals, and newspapers, including the Walrus, EnRoute, Geist, and the Globe and Mail. His latest book was longlisted for both the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction. He lives in Calgary, Alberta, with his wife and son.
In an ambitious blend of travel and reportage, Marcello Di Cintio explores the world’s most disputed edges to meet with those who live alongside the razor wire, concrete, and steel. He visits fenced-in villages in northeast India, walks Arizona’s migrant trails, and travels to Palestinian villages to witness the protests against Israel’s security barrier. From Native American reservations on the US-Mexico border and the “Great Wall of Montreal” to Cyprus’s divided capital and the sectarian divisions of Belfast, Di Cintio seeks to understand what these barriers reveal about their builders and how they influence the cultures they enclose.
Four finalists for this year’s prize received $2,500 each:
Taras Grescoe for Straphanger: Saving Our Cities and Ourselves from the Automobile
Published by HarperCollins Publishers
Noah Richler for What We Talk About When We Talk About War
Published by Goose Lane Editions
Jeffrey Simpson for Chronic Condition: Why Canada’s Health-Care System Needs to be Dragged into the 21st Century
Published by Allen Lane Canada
Peter F. Trent for The Merger Delusion: How Swallowing Its Suburbs Made an Even Bigger Mess of Montreal
Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press
For further information on this year’s winner and finalists and to download high-resolution images of the authors and their books, visit writerstrust.com.
About the Prize
Now in its thirteenth year, the prize is awarded annually to a nonfiction book that captures a political subject of interest to Canadian readers and enhances our understanding of the issue. The winning work combines compelling new insights with depth of research and is of significant literary merit. Strong consideration is given to books that, in the opinion of the jury, have the potential to shape or influence Canadian political life.
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.
About Politics and the Pen
Politics and the Pen is the highlight of the capital’s spring social calendar and an important annual fundraising event benefiting the Writers’ Trust. Held at the Fairmont Château Laurier, the event attracts 500 guests from the city’s political and literary circles. Microsoft Canada sponsors the Politics and the Pen dinner, and MTS Allstream Inc. sponsors the Politics and the Pen pre-dinner and post-dinner receptions. To date, the Politics and the Pen gala has raised more than $2 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. For further information visit writerstrust.com.
For more information and interview opportunities, contact:
Becky Toyne, 416-871-0502