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Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing

Awards to Canada Authors for Newly Published
Books that Address Contemporary Political Issues

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Writers' Trust (WT) of Canada

Deadline Date:

11/13/19 - For books published between January 1, 2019 and July 30, 2019.


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Prizes of $2,500 and one prize of $25,000 to Canada authors for outstanding works of literary nonfiction that reflect a political topic of relevance to Canadian audiences. The purpose of these awards is to recognize books that have the potential to influence and shape thinking on contemporary Canadian political life.

The winning work combines compelling new insights with depth of research and significant literary merit. All finalist works will demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and analysis. The prize particularly values books which provide the general reader with an informed, unique perspective on the practice of Canadian politics, its players, or its principles. The jurors will shortlist between three and five titles. Prizes of $2,500 will be awarded to each of the finalists.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 174284

Number of Grants:

The jurors will shortlist between three and five titles.

Estimated Size of Grant:

-Winner: $25,000
-Finalists: $2,500

In the event of a translation winning the prize, it will be divided as follows: $18,750 to the author, $6,250 to the translator.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility Criteria:

-Publishers should note that the prize is for literary excellence; they should only submit books they deem outstanding in this regard. Books that are strictly hagiography or political advocacy or which fail to illuminate political trends or issues are unlikely to be shortlisted.

-Titles must be published in Canada between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019. Books that are not yet in published form by the final deadline of November 13, 2019 may be submitted as bound galleys.

-Books must be English-language, first-edition trade books, written by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. Previous publication in another country does not disqualify a book.

-Translations from other languages into English are eligible and will be considered in the year in which the English translation is published. In the event of a translation winning the prize, it will be divided as follows: $18,750 to the author, $6,250 to the translator.

-To be eligible, publishing houses must have a professional editorial process independent from the authors whose books are submitted for consideration. They must not charge authors for publishing their works.

-All books must have an ISBN number and be available in Canadian bookstores for some duration between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.

-Titles may be single-authored or co-authored. multi-authored collections, anthologies, and conference proceedings are not eligible.

-Self-published books are not eligible.

-Ghostwritten books are not eligible.

-No more than 20% of the manuscript can have previously been published in book form.

-Books whose author was deceased at the time of publication are not eligible.

Pre-Application Information:

Nomination Process
The schedule for submissions is tied to publication dates as follows:

Deadline 1: July 31, 2019
For books published between Jan 1 and July 30, 2019

Deadline 2: September 11, 2019
For books published between July 31, 2019 and September 10, 2019

Deadline 3: November 13, 2019
For books published between September 11, 2019 and December 31, 2019

Publishers are strongly encouraged to submit books prior to the deadlines. Submissions upon release of titles are appreciated. If a publisher, for any reason whatsoever, feels they cannot submit titles in accordance with the above schedule it is requested that they contact the Program Manager to discuss alternate arrangements or the possibility of an extension.

All publishers of original manuscripts may enter two books by Canadian authors; companies publishing more than ten eligible nonfiction titles during the 2019 calendar year may add one book for every additional ten eligible books (or fraction thereof) on their nonfiction list, up to a maximum of five.

The list of finalist authors will be announced in early 2020. The award will be presented four to six weeks later in Ottawa at Politics and the Pen, an annual Writers' Trust fundraising dinner.

The following Required Materials must be submitted by the final deadline on November 13, 2019:

-Five copies of each eligible title in book form; or three bound galleys, with at least two copies of the finished book to be received by the Writers’ Trust upon publication.
-A Shaughnessy Cohen Prize online submission form listing all submitted titles and planned submissions. The form can be found at the bottom of this page. We do not require a paper copy of the form.
-A list of all titles published during the calendar year on which that publisher’s eligibility is based, including authors, titles, and dates of publication.
-Electronic images of the author and book cover suitable for reproduction in print materials.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

The submission form may be found at the bottom of the following webpage:

Send submissions to:
Devon Jackson, Program Coordinator
1-877-906-6548 x248 (Toll Free)
416-504-8222 x248

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Alberta   British Columbia   Manitoba   New Brunswick   Newfoundland and Labrador   Northwest Territories   Nova Scotia   Nunavut   Ontario   Prince Edward Island   Quebec   Saskatchewan   Yukon