Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Prize watch: Dafoe, Gelber, Donner

The Dafoe Prize (given annually since 1984 for a nonfiction book about Canada, Canadians and the nation in international affairs, has announced its 2011shortlist, sez the Winnipeg Free Press, where John W. Dafoe was editor more or less forever. The nominees:
* Reinhold Kramer and Tom Mitchell, When the State Trembled, a study of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike
* Tim Cook, The Madman and the Butcher by Tim Cook -- on the struggles between Samuel Hughes and Arthur Currie in World War I
* Shelagh Grant,  Polar Imperative by Shelagh Grant, said to be the definitive history of sovereignty issues in the polar region
* Carman Miller,  A Knight in Politics by Carmen Miller, a biography of Sir Frederick Borden.
* Robert Wright, Our Man in Tehran , on Kenneth Taylor and the "Canadian caper."
A clean sweep for professors of history, I think.  Kramer and Mitchell are at U. Brandon, Grant and Wright  at Trent, Cook at Carleton (okay and the national museums too), and Miller at McGill.
A few weeks ago, Shelagh Grant's book won the Lionel Gelber Prize for "the world's best nonfiction book in English that seeks to deepen public debate on significant global issues."
And yesterday a couple of books related to aboriginal history  made the shortlist for the Donner Prizfor Canadian books on public policy.  One is  Oka: A Political Crisis and its Legacy, the memoir by Harry Swain, Deputy Minister of Indian Affairs during the crisis in 1990. I can affirm this is an impressive and interesting work, though I was a bit set back to read that when Swain became deputy  minister, he had never heard of the Royal Proclamation of 1763.  The other is Tom Flanagan, Christopher Alcantara and AndrĂ© Le Dressay, Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights 
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