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Trent University Durham Professor Becomes First-Ever Repeat Winner of National History Book Award

June 16, 2015

Canadian Authors Association presents Dr. Robert Wright with Lela Common Award for Canadian History for newest book, The Night Canada Stood Still

Trent University Durham Professor Becomes First-Ever Repeat Winner of National History Book Award

Historian, bestselling author, screenwriter and Trent University Durham history professor Dr. Robert Wright has become the first-ever repeat winner of the Canadian Authors Association (CAA) prestigious Lela Common Award for Canadian History for his newest book, The Night Canada Stood Still.

“It really is a great honour to win the Lela Common Award,” said Prof. Wright, who previously won the award in 2008 for his book Three Nights in Havana, the first portrait of the relationship between Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and Cuban President Fidel Castro.  “This is a juried prize, which means that writers and also seasoned readers select the winners. The competition from year to year is top-notch. It is a fine thing to be in the company of the country’s most accomplished non-fiction writers, authors like Tim Cook, who is also a Trent alumnus, Charlotte Gray and Richard Gwyn.”

“On behalf of the entire Trent community, I wish to congratulate Dr. Wright on this most recent and well-deserved accomplishment. It is wonderful to see our faculty from Trent University Durham recognized nationally for their research and publications,” noted head of Trent University Durham, Joe Muldoon. “The opportunity for students to learn from and alongside leading professors like Dr. Wright is one of the many highlights of the Trent experience.”

In The Night Canada Stood Still, Prof. Wright explores the drama and intrigue that occurred during the Quebec Provincial Referendum on Sovereignty in 1995. He takes a specific look at the extraordinary night of October 30, 1995 and how the ‘No’ vote won by the narrowest margin. The book examines the key players that helped to shape this part of Canadian history, focusing on separatist leader Lucien Bouchard, as well as then Premier Jacques Parizeau and Prime Minister Jean Chretien and their key advisors.  

Prof. Wright, a Trent University alumnus, has been a professor of history at Trent University Durham since 1985 and has built his career by challenging the way we think about Canadian history, foreign policy and sovereignty issues. He is the author of six books including three consecutive national bestsellers: Three Nights in Havana: Pierre Trudeau, Fidel Castro and the Cold War World; Our Man in Tehran: Ken Taylor and the Iran Hostage Crisis (2010), which was turned into a full-length, critically-acclaimed documentary film co-written by Prof. Wright; and The Night Canada Stood Still.

The CAA Lela Common Award for Canadian History was first established in 1997. Made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of Lela Florence Common, a long-time member of the Hamilton Branch of the Canadian Authors Association, the award is presented each year to honour a work of historical non-fiction on a Canadian topic. For more information, visit 

For more information contact:

Kate Weersink, media relations & strategic communications officer, Trent University, (705) 748-1011 x6180 or

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