Two popular Black Nonfiction Books In The Running For The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize For Canada Political Writing


Stephen Weir

Release Date

Friday, June 4, 2021


Last year’s winner of the Toronto Book Award, is back making book news this week.  Toronto journalist Desmond Cole’s memoir “The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power” is one of five books now in the running for the prestigious annual Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Canada Political Writing.

Often called the human launch pin to Toronto’s Black Lives Matter movement, writer and broadcaster Desmond Cole awakened the nation to problems of systemic racism within the Toronto police force.

Cole’s book, according to his publisher, Doubleday Canada “chronicles just one year—2017—in the struggle against racism in this country.  Month-by-month, Cole creates a comprehensive picture of entrenched, systemic inequality. Urgent, controversial, and unsparingly honest, The Skin We’re In is destined to become a textbook for anti-racist and social justice movements in Canada.”

According the Writer’s Trust, it’s $25,000 Shaughnessy Prize is awarded each year to 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 contemporary Canadian political life.”  The prize is named after the late Shaughnessy Cohen, a popular Liberal MP from Windsor Ontario.

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Earlier this week the Writers’ Trust named five titles Wednesday that have been shortlisted for the $25,000 award. Also nominated for the Prize are former member of Parliament Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Can You Hear Me Now? How I Found My Voice and Learned to Live with Passion and Purpose); Karin Wells (The Abortion Caravan: When Women Shut Down Government in the Battle for the Right to Choose), Ronald Deibert, (Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society), and Alex Marland  (Whipped: Party Discipline in Canada).

The winner will be announced at Ottawa’s online Politics and the Pen Gala in Ottawa this September 22nd.

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