The prize is awarded annually to a non-fiction book that captures a political subject of interest to Canadian readers and enhances our understanding of the issue. The winning work combines compelling new insights with depth of research and is of significant literary merit. Strong consideration is given to books that, in the opinion of the jury, have the potential to shape or influence Canadian political life. The winner of the prize recieves $25,000 while finalists each recieve $2,500. The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing was established in honour of the outspoken and popular Member of Parliament from Windsor, Ontario, who died on December 9, 1998.