Books about masculinity, energy projects among Shaughnessy Cohen Prize finalists

TORONTO - Books about the state of masculinity, a young boy's immigration story and clashes between industry and environmentalism have been nominated for the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

The Writers' Trust of Canada named five finalists Wednesday vying for the award honouring a literary non-fiction book on politics.

Rachel Giese, the editorial director of LGBTQ publication Xtra, is in the running for "Boys: What It Means to Become a Man," (Patrick Crean Editions) which explores how societal expectations of manhood can shape boys' development.

Edmonton high school student Abu Bakr al Rabeeah is nominated for "Homes: A Refugee Story" (Freehand Books), alongside English teacher Winnie Yeung, who helped recount his journey of growing up in Iraq and Syria and escaping a war zone to build a new life in Canada.

New Brunswick reporter Jacques Poitras earned a nod for "Pipe Dreams: The Fight for Canada's Energy Future" (Viking Canada) about the ill-fated Energy East pipeline proposal.

Victoria-based journalist Sarah Cox is also a contender for "Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley's Stand against Big Hydro" (On Point Press) about the controversial construction of a third dam on the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C.

Rounding out the short list is Harley Rustad, a features editor at The Walrus, for "Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada's Last Great Trees" (House of Anansi Press) about a 20-storey Douglas fir on Vancouver Island that survived a clearcut by the logging industry.

This year's winner will be announced at an Ottawa gala on May 15.

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