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Shelagh Grant takes World’s Best Book on Global Affairs

Shelagh Grant takes World’s Best Book on Global Affairs

March 2011

Douglas & McIntyre is delighted to announce that Shelagh D. Grant’s Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America has won the 2011 Lionel Gelber Prize.

The Lionel Gelber Prize is a literary award for the world's best non-fiction book in English that seeks to deepen public debate on significant global issues. Grant is the first Canadian woman to receive the prize, Sara Charney, chair of the Lionel Gelber Prize Board and niece of Lionel Gelber noted, adding Polar Imperative “is key to our understanding of the Arctic’s future.” The international, five-member jury lauded Grant’s “riveting history of adventure, sovereignty, and environment around the Arctic Ocean,” and praised the “comprehensive account of the interplay of politics, economics, institutions and culture” as a “must-read background for what could well become the next ‘great game’.”

The four competing titles were The Yalta: The Price of Peace, by Serhii M. Plokhy (Viking); Why the West Rules – for Now, by Ian Morris (McClelland & Stewart); The Hungry World: America's Cold War Battle Against Poverty in Asia, by Nick Cullather (Harvard University Press); and Arrival City, by Doug Saunders (Knopf Canada). Shelagh Grant will be awarded the sum of $15,000.

Based on Shelagh Grant’s groundbreaking archival research and drawing on her reputation as a leading historian in the field, Polar Imperative is a fascinating overview of the historical claims of sovereignty over this continent’s polar regions. This book will become a standard reference on Arctic history and will redefine North Americans’ understanding of the sovereign rights and responsibilities of the continent’s northernmost region.

Shelagh Grant will accept her award and give a public lecture at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs on Tuesday, March 29, 2011. Subsequently, she will speak at an event hosted by Lionel Gelber Prize partner Foreign Policy magazine, to be held at George Washington University’s Elliott School, in Washington, D.C.

Read more about Polar Imperative >>