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Random House Canada / Paul Wells Press Release

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TORONTO – OCTOBER 9, 2014: Random House Canada to publish Paul Wells’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere: Canada Since 1945, a three-volume social and political history of Canada

Anne Collins, publisher of Random House Canada, is delighted to announce the signing of Paul Wells, author of the recent award-winning national bestseller on Stephen Harper and Canada, The Longer Im Prime Minister, to an ambitious three-book project to create a fresh account of modern Canada, in a deal arranged by Jackie Kaiser of Westwood Creative Artists.

Random House Canada will publish the first volume, covering the years from 1945 to 1965, in Canada’s sesquicentennial of 2017, with new books to follow in 2019 and 2021. Collins says, “I came of age as writers such as Pierre Berton and Peter C. Newman were telling us our history in epic and creative new ways. Paul Wells comes from a different generation and has a very different sensibility, but he shares these authors’ fascination with the country we live in and he is an equally wonderful storyteller, remarkably free of hot air and always surprising. I can’t wait to see the questions Paul asks, and the answers he gives. I know they’ll be incisive, insightful and witty, that the patterns he sees and the stories he tells will wake us up to a new vision of our country.”

Paul Wells says, “Writing The Longer I’m Prime Minister gave me a hint of what’s possible when journalism moves past daily headlines to examine the broad sweep of events over many years. All that’s left to do now is to dive off the deep end. Instead of trying to understand one prime minister, I’ll take the reader through seven decades of Canadian life at multiple levels — from local to global events — and in between, eight significant prime ministers whose governments were usually too busy putting out fires to think much about the history they were making. I’m going to banish reverence for the duration. The story of Canada’s coming of age has often been lurid, chaotic and ridiculous, and that’s how I plan to tell it.”

With a mix of archival reporting, interviews with surviving principals, and interpretive analysis, Wells aims to return big history to pride of place in Canada’s literary conversation with the following three books:

Spoils of War, 1945–1965. The creation of the modern welfare state and the dawn of the Cold War. Canada leaves World War II strong and prosperous. But almost as soon as the war ends, Igor Gouzenko defects, conjuring the threat of a new and even more devastating war.These two themes — domestic peace and industry; international tension — are the backdrop for an era of rapid change in Canadian life.

Two Nations, 1965–1992. This book focuses on nearly three decades spent trying to accommodate Quebec nationalism — first with the arrival of the Three Wise Men (Trudeau, Marchand and Pelletier) in Ottawa, then Trudeaumania, the first Quebec referendum, repatriation, and Brian Mulroney’s hard-fought attempts to fix Trudeau’s mistakes.

Growing Up, 1992–2020. The 1995 referendum, 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the global rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the decline of American hegemony are the unlikely backdrop for an optimistic final volume. Under Chrétien and Harper, a chastened federal government abandons quixotic adventure for an era of pragmatic and modest governance. That doesn’t mean party politics goes away, far from it, but our story ends with a surprisingly prosperous, optimistic Canada. The prognostications of the worst skeptics fail to come true; separatism lies in ruins; and Canada’s diversity and adaptability leave it well positioned to thrive in a changing world.

Paul Wells is the political editor of Maclean’s magazine. His most recent book, The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006–, was a national bestseller. It won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the John W. Dafoe Book Prize, and is nominated for the Ottawa Book Awards. His previous book, Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper’s New Conservatism, was also a national bestseller. He has worked for the National Post and Montreal Gazette and written for L’actualité, La Presse and the Literary Review of Canada. He lives in Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter at @inklessPW.

For more information: Josh Glover, Publicity Manager Penguin Random House of Canada or 647.788.3977

WCA & The Governor General’s Literary Awards Nominations

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Please join me in congratulating Bill Gaston, Sean Dixon, Thomas King, Julia Morstad (illustrator for Kyo Maclear’s Julia, Child) and Alexandra Shimo, and  and their publishers, on their GG nominations!

For the full list, please see the link below:


Bill GastonJuliet Was a Surprise (Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada)

Thomas KingThe Back of the Turtle (HarperCollins Publishers)


Sean DixonA God in Need of Help (Coach House Books)


Edmund Metatawabin with Alexandra ShimoUp Ghost River: A Chief’s Journey through the Turbulent Waters of Native History (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada)

Children’s Literature (Illustration)

Julie MorstadJulia, Child, text by Kyo Maclear (Tundra Books)

Itani and Viswanathan on Giller Shortlist

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Please join WCA in celebrating the appearance of Frances Itani’s novel TELL and Padma Viswanathan’s novel THE EVER AFTER OF ASHWIN RAO on the 2014 shortlist for the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize!

Jury Citation for Frances Itani / TELL:

Every word feels simple, right, and natural in Frances Itani’s Tell. You’re slowly immersed in the mystery: Who gave up a baby for adoption, and why? Itani peels back time to show us Kenan, a damaged and disfigured WWI soldier readjusting to life in Ontario, and his marriage to Tress. Itani inhabits many voices with ease, pathos and humour. Her choice of details expertly builds our understanding of her characters’ times, foibles and moral choices, and she connects them in a hugely satisfying ending. Tell is a treasure: serious with humorous moments, potent and controlled, subtle yet deeply moving.

Jury Citation for Padma Viswanathan / THE EVER AFTER OF ASHWIN RAO:

Scotch-drinking, McGill-educated psychologist Ashwin Rao wrote about those bereaved by India’s state-sponsored anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984. In 2004, he returns to Canada researching another book on comparative grief, attending the trial over the 1985 bombing of Air India 182, a bombing that claimed 329 lives, including his sister and her children. Guided by Viswanathan’s ever-compassionate gaze, and her ability to render a polyglot world in English, Ashwin meets Canadians affected by the tragedy, some as complex as himself. This often droll, fiercely-intelligent novel with its cat’s-cradle of a plot challenges the twin deadly lures of religious fundamentalism and racism, revealing the learning and unlearning at the core of the immigrant experience.

Itani and Viswanathan Longlisted for Giller!

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Please join WCA in congratulating Frances Itani and Padma Viswanathan on being longlisted for the $100,000 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize!

Commonwealth Award winner Frances Itani is longlisted for her stunning new novel Tell (HarperCollins Canada, Grove US). A deeply moving and emotionally rich story about secrets withheld and revealed in the aftermath of the Great War, the novel is a companion to Itani’s unforgettable debut Deafening in that it picks up on the lives of two minor characters (Grania’s sister Tress and her husband Kenan), but it stands triumphantly on its own. Comparing her to the late Alistair MacLeod, the Toronto Star hails the novel as “masterful… evocative and indelible… an enthralling reminder of the toll the war – and all wars – take, not only on the soldiers but on the families who keep faith on the home front.” The Winnipeg Free Press, meanwhile, puts it more simply, stating that in Tell, “[Itani] illustrates that good storytelling is not dead.” Deafening, which has been published in 17 territories, was compared by reviewers to Birdsong and the Regeneration trilogy, and by writer Kaye Gibbons to the work of Grace Paley, Robert Lowell and W.H. Auden.

Internationally acclaimed New Face of Fiction author Padma Viswanathan has been longlisted for her latest bestselling novel The Ever After of Ashwin Rao, about the 1985 Air India bombing and the unexpected reverberations of this tragedy in the lives of its survivors. David Bezmozgis, author of The Betrayers calls it “An intrepid novel, its sadness leavened by a wry humour,”and Manil Suri, author of The Death of Vishnu raves “Through characters hewn with great empathy and grace, writing whose brilliance illuminates every page, and a story that constantly compels and surprises, Padma Viswanathan explores hugely ambitious questions of loss, identity and faith.” Her first novel The Toss of a Lemon was published to critical acclaim in Canada, Australia, Holland, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the US, and was shortlisted for the First Novel Award, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book Award (Canada and the Caribbean).

Eric Hill

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WCA was devastated yesterday by the news that its beloved client Eric Hill had succumbed to his recent illness.  Eric’s iconic character Spot launched the groundbreaking lift-the-flap book format back in 1980, and went on to delight children in more than 60 languages. Eric was a very special man and he will be greatly missed.  Please share a Spot book with a child to keep his memory alive. -86

Susin Nielsen wins Red Maple Award

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Congratulations to Susin Nielsen, who has just won the Red Maple Award for The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen (Tundra Books). She previously won the award in 2010 for Word Nerd.

The Ontario Library Association’s annual Red Maple Award was first presented in 1998. This award is open to Canadian authors writing at the Grade 7-8 level, who have been published within the last two years. The winner is selected by Ontario’s young readers.

Paul Wells wins the John W. Dafoe Prize

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WCA is pleased to announce that The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada 2006– by Paul Wells has won the John W. Dafoe Prize.

The J.W. Dafoe Book Prize is awarded to the best book on Canada, Canadians, and/or Canada’s place in the world published in the previous calendar year.

The Longer I’m Prime Minister is a national bestseller, a Maclean’s Best Book, and winner of the Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing.

The Jury citation follows:

“Paul Wells provides a lively, witty and perceptive insider, political portrait of Stephen Harper as a calculating, incremental politician, who set out to fundamentally change how Canadians see themselves and their place in the world. In his balanced analysis, Paul Wells has enhanced our understanding of a relatively new kind of Canadian conservatism that fiercely brands its opponents and operates in a permanent electoral mode.”

Congratulations Paul!

Paul Wells's The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada was also the 2014 winner of the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize.

Wells wins Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

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Congratulations to WCA author Paul Wells, who has won this year’s $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006- (Random House Canada).

The Writers’ Trust of Canada handed out the honour at a gala in Ottawa on the 2nd of April.

The jury praised his book as “Impeccably researched, gorgeously written and deeply insightful…an essential read for all political junkies.”

For more information, please visit:


Jury Citation

Veteran political columnist Paul Wells has crafted a fast-paced, romping great read about a Prime Minister who is frequently described by the Parliamentary Press Gallery as dull, plodding, and inscrutable. Though viscerally funny and often biting, this book is never partisan or unfair. Impeccably researched, gorgeously written, and deeply insightful, The Longer I’m Prime Minister is an essential read for all political junkies.