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Monique and Max Nemni Win Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Young Trudeau


Former Glendon professor Monique Nemni and her husband Max have just been named winners of this year’s Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, offered by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. They received this prestigious prize for volume 1 of their trilogy, an intellectual biography of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, with the title Young Trudeau: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada, 1919-1944 (published by MCLelland & Stewart, 2006).

Volume 2 is already in progress; it will cover the period of 1944 to 1965, leading up to Trudeau’s formal commitment to a career in politics. The third volume will explore his years as Minister of Justice and Prime Minister, and detail his activities until his death in September of 2000.

John English was also among the finalists for this prize, for volume one of his historical biography of Trudeau, with the title Citizen of the World: the Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1919-1968 (published by Knopf Canada in 2006).

As guest speakers at a presentation organized by the Glendon Research Group in Public and International Affairs (GRG-PIA), the Nemnis had recently visited Glendon to talk about their monumental work in progress.

Monique Nemni has a long-standing connection to Glendon, where she spent the first ten years of her teaching career. It was here that she launched the Second Language Program and was its first director. She went on to teach at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) for over 20 years as director of teachers’ education programs. Retired academic Max Nemni,
who holds a PhD in Political Science from York University, is a specialist on nationalism and liberalism, with many publications to his credit on these topics.

In his will, Trudeau granted full access to his personal papers to only three individuals: the Nemnis and John English. The Shaughnessy Cohen Prize is an acknowledgement of the extensive research Monique and Max Nemni had conducted into Trudeau’s work, as well as his huge collection of papers and memorabilia – their main source for the biography. Volume 1 reveals a Trudeau that very few had known. It provides the setting, in the Quebec of the 30s and the 40s, which formed him and his ideas as a young man, and follows his transformation from religious nationalist to sophisticated humanist.

This article was submitted by Glendon communications officer Marika Kemeny

Published on March 2, 2007