Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Prize Watch: Christopher Dummitt and Ted Rowe at the Cohen

Christopher Dummitt's Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King's Secret Life is among the nominees for the 2018 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.  The other nominees, including three strong women contenders, are:
Carol Off, All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others
Sandra Perron, Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada’s First Female Infantry Officer
Ted Rowe, Robert Bond: The Greatest Newfoundlander
Tanya Talaga, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City
It's not entirely clear just what the Cohen means by "political writing," beyond the idea that anything may be political and it's up to juries to find the boundaries.  So this year's nominees are as eclectic as ever -- and not such a bad thing, since it seems like a quality list.

I'm sorry I hadn't previously know about the Robert Bond biography, the other historical work (if we can set booundaries for that!) on the list.  Another justification for book prize lists.

Before read Dummitt's book, I rather thought I knew as much as I needed about the secret lives of Mackenzie King. I found Unbuttoned full of all kinds of new material, and particularly in its exploration of figures other than King, such as Eugene Forsey and Bruce Hutchison, who have passed out of their current-events fame and not much become historical figures yet.  Decision is May 9: $25,000 at stake.

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