Fort McMurray Wildfire book wins prestigious prize

A book about the 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire is taking home the 2024 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

Penned by Vancouver author, John Vaillant, “Fire Weather: The Making of a Beast” is a best-seller digging into the details and events surrounding the 2016 wildfire. It was one of 46 books nominated for the award.

Administered by the Writers Trust of Canada, Judges describe the work as a skillfully crafted compelling book. “Like a blazing inferno that commands our attention and awe, we cannot look away from Fire Weather,” wrote the judges for the prize. “Vaillant brings the devastating 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire to life by introducing us, almost affectionately, to the human beings on the frontlines.”

The book previously won the Baillie Gifford prize in the U.K. under its alternate title, “Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World.” The book was also a finalist for the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category.

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