May 21st, 2024

John Vaillant’s ‘Fire Weather’ wins $25K Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

By The Canadian Press on May 7, 2024.

Author John Vaillant is seen in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Penguin Random House, Ian Hinkle, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

OTTAWA – John Vaillant’s bestselling book about the Fort McMurray wildfire has won the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

“Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast” received the award at the Politics and the Pen fundraising gala Tuesday night.

Judges for the prize, administered by The Writers’ Trust of Canada, described the book as deeply compelling and skilfully crafted.

The other finalists ““ each awarded $2,500 ““ included “Not Here: Why American Democracy Is Eroding and How Canada Can Protect Itself” by Rob Goodman, and “Indictment: The Criminal Justice System on Trial” by Benjamin Perrin.

Also in the running were “Canada: Beyond Grudges, Grievances, and Disunity” by Donald J. Savoie, and “The Age of Insecurity: Coming Together as Things Fall Apart” by Astra Taylor.

The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize recognizes literary nonfiction that “has the potential to shape or influence thinking on Canadian political life.”

Vaillant’s “Fire Weather” previously won the prestigious U.K.-based Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, worth approximately $85,000. It was also a National Book Award finalist and made the New York Times’ list of best 10 books of 2023.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2024.

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