At a gala event in Ottawa on Wednesday evening, Toronto Star reporter Tanya Talaga added another laurel to those already bestowed upon her debut work of non-fiction. Talaga’s book, Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City (House of Anansi Press), was named the winner of the 2018 Writers’ Trust of Canada Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. The announcement was made at the annual Politics and the Pen gala, co-hosted by Bardish Chagger, minister of small business and tourism, and Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the federal NDP.
In February, Talaga won the RBC Taylor Prize; Seven Fallen Feathers was also shortlisted for the 2017 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction.
A jury composed of political science professor Taiaiake Alfred, writer Joseph Heath, and journalist Kady O’Malley selected this year’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize winner. The other shortlisted authors were Christopher Dummit for Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life (McGill-Queen’s University Press); Carol Off for All We Leave Behind: A Reporter’s Journey into the Lives of Others (Random House Canada); Sandra Perron for Out Standing in the Field: A Memoir by Canada’s First Female Infantry Officer (Cormorant Books); and Ted Rowe for Robert Bond: The Greatest Newfoundlander (Creative Book Publishing/Breakwater Books).
Named for the late Windsor, Ontario, MP Shaughenssy Cohen, the $25,000 prize honours the best English-language Canadian book on a political subject of relevance to Canadians.