Joanna Chiu won the 2022 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for her debut book, China Unbound: A New World Mess.
The Vancouver journalist and Toronto Star author received the $25,000 prize Tuesday in Ottawa at the 35th annual Politics and the Pen Gala, a fundraiser in support of the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s literary programs.
The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize recognizes a book of literary non-fiction on a political topic relevant to Canadian readers that has the potential to influence thinking about Canadian political life. The award was established in 2000 in honor of Cohen, an outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, Ontario.
In China UnboundChiu – who has spent a decade tracking China’s propulsive rise – examines the country’s growing global influence and the implications for stability, prosperity and civil rights around the world.
“The rise of China is the geopolitical story of the 21st century, and Joanna Chiu has expertly charted the country’s efforts to expand its power around the world,” the prize jury wrote. “China Unbound is a gripping portrait of a rising superpower that is essential reading for any follower of Canadian politics. »
“The China story I wanted to show is international,” Chiu said in a Writers’ Trust video this week. “It was happening in those wealthy, developed western countries where you really worry about Chinese influence going just under the radar.”
Chiu is a veteran journalist for the Toronto Star and an internationally recognized authority on China. His work has appeared in the Guardian, Foreign Police, Atlantic and Newsweek. In 2012, she won a Human Rights Press Award for her article on refugees in Hong Kong.
The winner and runners-up were selected by a judging panel comprised of Ottawa journalist Charelle Evelyn, author and former award finalist Jacques Poitras, and former Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Lisa Raitt.
The remaining four finalists each received $2,500. This year’s finalists included The Two Michaels: Innocent Canadian Captives and High-Stakes Espionage in the US-China Cyber War by Mike Blanchfield and Fen Osler Hampson; Flora! : A woman in a man’s world by Flora MacDonald and Geoffrey Stevens; The next era of uncertainty by Stephen Poloz; and Indian in Cabinet by Jody Wilson-Raybould.
Founded in 1976 by writers Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, Graeme Gibson, Margaret Laurence and David Young, The Writers’ Trust of Canada is an organization that supports Canadian writers through literary prizes, scholarships, financial grants, mentoring and more.
It also awards seven awards in recognition of the best of the year in fiction, non-fiction and short story, as well as lifetime achievement and mid-career awards.
Last year’s Shaughnessy Cohen Award winner was Ronald J. Diebert for his Massey Lectures on Technology, Reset: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society.
Other past winners include Kamal Al-SolayleeJane Jacobs and Romeo Dallaire.