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Anna Porter takes the Writers’ Trust top prize for political writing

Anna Porter takes the Writers’ Trust top prize for political writing

February 2011

Douglas & McIntyre is thrilled to announce that Anna Porter’s The Ghosts of Europe: Journeys through Central Europe’s Troubled Past and Uncertain Future has won the 2011 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

Now in its eleventh year, the prize is awarded annually to a non-fiction book that captures a political subject of interest to Canadian readers and enhances their understanding of the issue. The winning work combines compelling new insights with depth of research and is of significant literary merit. This year’s jury declared, “In Anna Porter, we are in the presence not only of a journalist on a personal odyssey back to her own origins in Communist Hungary, but of a gifted storyteller who shapes a historically consequential narrative.”

The four other competing titles were The Madman and the Butcher, by Tim Cook (Allen Lane Canada); Harperland, by Lawrence Martin (Viking Canada); and Arrival City, by Doug Saunders (Knopf Canada). Fellow D&M author Shelagh D. Grant was also nominated for her book Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America. Each finalist received $2,500, while Porter earned $25,000.

With Canada’s attention gripped by the insecure democracies in Afghanistan and Haiti, The Ghosts of Europe is a timely book. An exploration of power, nationalism, racism and denial in nations with a tumultuous past and an uncertain future, author Anna Porter travels through the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to speak with leading intellectuals, politicians and former dissidents about their countries’ transitions to capitalism and democracy.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that supports Canadian writers and writing through various programs, including literary awards, financial grants and scholarships. Anna Porter’s win was announced in Ottawa on February 16, 2011, at the Politics and the Pen Gala.

Read more about The Ghosts of Europe >>