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Susan Delacourt's Shopping for Votes is a Finalist for the 2014 John W. Dafoe Book Prize!

Susan Delacourt's Shopping for Votes is a Finalist for the 2014 John W. Dafoe Book Prize!

April 2014

Congratulations to Susan Delacourt, whose fifth book engaged with Canadian politics, Shopping for Votes (Douglas & McIntyre, $32.95), is a finalist for the 2014 John W. Dafoe Book Prize. The prize is awarded to the best book on “Canada, Canadians and/or Canada’s place in the world.”

The winner will be announced in mid-April and the award presented at the J.W. Dafoe Foundation’s Annual Book Prize Dinner, held in Winnipeg in May. The winner will receive CAD $10,000.

Shopping for Votes evolved from the decades of experience Delacourt accrued in the world of political journalism. The changes in how political parties relate to voters, borrowing increasingly from the world of marketing language and methodologies, inspired the author to consider the impact this is having on voters and politicians. This book is an invitation to Canadians, to step into the shopping-mall of politics, where ideas and people are bought and sold, using many of the same techniques of the marketplace. You may never look at a political ad -- or a politician -- the same way again.

Delacourt’s book is not a one-sided polemic, but rather an investigative look at how politics in Canada in general have been co-opted by marketing.

SUSAN DELACOURT is a writer with the Toronto Star, covering federal politics for 25 years, as a reporter, bureau chief and columnist with the major national newspapers. Shopping For Votes is Delacourt’s fifth book and also her largest one, in time span and scope, as she shares with readers how Canadian political culture has changed to match the consumerist boom of the past half-century.

With her own front-row seat to current events all these years, Delacourt has seen a big shift in the national conversation. The great constitutional debates of the 1980s and 1990s -- subject of her first book, United We Fall -- have been replaced by conversations about value for the “taxpayer” and “Tim Hortons voters.” Though not a frequent denizen of donut shops or the malls, this book is Delacourt’s update on her own political-science education, which began at Western University and has taken her all over the country. Along the way, she also wrote books about three Liberal politicians: Paul Martin (Juggernaut); the late MP Shaughnessy Cohen (Shaughnessy) and her most recent eRead for the Star on Justin Trudeau’s Liberal leadership campaign.

Delacourt is a regular commentator on CTV and CBC, honoured in 2011 with the Charles Lynch award for career-long achievement in political journalism. She has also been a finalist in the national newspaper and national magazine awards, and The Globe and Mail gave her its best-writer prize for her work on the national-unity saga of the 1990s. In 2014 she won the prestigious Hyman Solomon Award for Excellence in Public Policy Journalism.

The five nominees for the 2014 John W. Dafoe Book Prize are:

Susan Delacourt. Shopping for Votes: How Politicians Choose Us and We Choose Them. Madeira Park, B.C: Douglas & McIntyre P. Whitney Lackenbauer. The Canadian Rangers: A Living History. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press David O’Keefe. One Day in August: The Untold Story Behind Canada’s Tragedy at Dieppe. Toronto: Alfred A. Knopf Canada John L. Riley. The Once and Future Great Lakes Country: An Ecological History. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press Paul Wells. The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada 2006-. Toronto: Random House.

The book prize memorializes John Wesley Dafoe, one of the most significant Canadian editors of the 20th century. It is one of the richest book awards for non-fiction excellence about Canada, Canadians and the Canadian nation in international affairs. In his tenure at the Manitoba Free Press, later renamed the Winnipeg Free Press, from 1901-1944, Dafoe was known for his advocacy of western development, free trade, and national independence. His case for adoption by Britain of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 advanced the severance of formal ties with Empire and created the eight dominions, which became the nucleus of the present 54-nation Commonwealth.

Read more about Shopping for Votes >>