Anna Porter, the c0-founder of Key Porter Books, has won the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for The Ghosts of Europe (Douglas & McIntyre), her work of reportage about post-Communist central Europe. She was awarded the $25,000 prize, given annually to a book that has “the potential to shape or influence Canadian political life,” at a gala in Ottawa Wednesday night.
In a press release, the jury, comprising journalists L. Ian MacDonald, Rosemary Speirs, and Paul Wells, praised Porter as “a gifted storyteller who shapes a historically consequential narrative.” Porter, a member of the Order of Canada, is also the author of Kasztner’s Train, winner of the 2007 Nereus Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, the memoir The Storyteller, and several murder mysteries, including 1997’s Bookfair Murders.
The Ghosts of Europe beat out Tim Cook’s The Madman and the Butcher: The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie (Allen Lane Canada), Shelagh D. Grant’s Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America (Douglas & McIntyre), Lawrence Martin’s Harperland: The Politics of Control (Viking Canada), and Doug Saunders’s Arrival City: The Final Migration and our Next World (Knopf Canada). Each of the four finalists for this year’s prize received $2,500.