Books

Homes by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung shortlisted for $25K political writing prize

The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is an annual award that recognizes the best political writing in Canada.
Abu Bakr al Rabeeah wrote Homes with Winnie Yeung. (CBC)

The memoir Homes  by Abu Bakr al Rabeeah with Winnie Yeung is among the five finalists for the 2019 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize, an annual $25,000 award for the best work of political writing in Canada.

Homes describes al Rabeeah's life growing up in Iraq and, later, Syria — where his family lived peacefully until the civil war began. Now 18 years old, al Rabeeah arrived in Edmonton with his family as a refugee in 2014 and created this book with the help of his English teacher Yeung. The book was recently the runner-up on Canada Reads 2019, where it was defended by Chuck Comeau

"This gripping story is about the resilience of family in the face of profound terror; Yeung writes with a deceptively simple, meticulously observed eye and novelistic attention to plot and character," said the jury in a press release.

"As Canadians grapple with the complexities of welcoming thousands of refugees, they would do well to read the powerfully affecting story of Homes."

The other finalists include Boys by Rachel Giese, a look at how damaging ideas of masculinity can be unlearned, Big Lonely Doug by Harley Rustad, the story of a 20-storey Douglas fir tree that caught the world's attention, Pipe Dreams by CBC New Brunswick reporter Jacques Poitras, who reviews the rise and fall of the Energy East pipeline, and Breaching the Peace by Sarah Cox, who examines the B.C. government's plans to build a third hydroelectric dam on the Peace River.

The jury for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize includes Globe and Mail columnist André Picard, CBC reporter Angela Sterritt and author Chris Turner. The winner will be announced May 15, 2019 in Ottawa. 

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