Thursday, February 28, 2008

Winners and Nominees

Good history-book representation on the shortlist for the Writers' Trust non-fiction prize. Full lists are here. Doug Hunter for God's Mercies, noted on our Notable Books list for 2007. Barry Gough for Fortune's a River: The Collision of Empires in Northwest America and Tim Bowling for Lost Coast: Salmon, Memory and the Death of Wild Culture -- both books quite unknown to ill-informed me until today, I confess. Plus Anna Porter for Kasztner's Train and Katherine Aschenburg for The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History.

Jury was Greg Gatenby, John Metcalf, and Aritha van Hirk. Three writers with sound judgment, I say, but two out of three are really novelists. Non-fiction writers hardly ever get a jury of their peers.

Nice to see Lawrence Hill's historical novel The Book of Negroes on the fiction list too.

And a winner: Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang's Unexpected War, about the making of Canada's Afghanistan policy, won the Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing at the Trust's Politics and the Pen event in Ottawa the other night. Politics and the Pen is a great event (I say on the basis on having attended just one), but the Cohen award judges do seem to struggle with what qualifies as a political book. Everything is political, I guess.
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