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About the Prize

Established in honour of the outspoken and popular MP from Windsor, Ontario, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing is awarded annually for an exceptional book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers. Sponsored by CN, the prize is awarded annually at the Politics and the Pen gala in Ottawa.

2024 Winner

John Vaillant

Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast

Knopf Canada

Jury Citation

“Like a blazing inferno that commands our attention and awe, we cannot look away from Fire Weather. John Vaillant brings the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire to life by introducing us, almost affectionately, to the human beings on the frontlines of the fossil fuel industry and the fire it produces that threatens us all. This is a deeply compelling, skillfully crafted story packed with information but completely free of ponderous lecturing. It is terrifying in its honest, textured description of what we have wrought in the name of progress, what we stand to lose, and where we might find the possibility of hope.”

—2024 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize Jury (Joanna Chiu, Dale Eisler, and Kathleen Wynne)

2024 Finalists

“My affiliation with Writers’ Trust has connected me to a national network of writers and thinkers, and to politicians and policy makers. The generous prize will be used to support the research and writing of my next book.”

— Rachel Giese

2018 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing winner