Allan Slaight Prize

The Walrus and the Slaight Family Foundation are delighted to announce a new prize to celebrate journalistic achievements by writers in The Walrus magazine.

On January 17th, 2018 the inaugural $10,000 Allan Slaight Prize for Journalism was awarded to Brett Popplewell for the most outstanding article published in The Walrus in 2017. The prize supports journalists in pursuing compelling stories of social import.

Brett Popplewell is an author, professor, and freelance journalist. A winner of multiple National Magazine Awards, his work has appeared in The Best American Sports Writing, Bloomberg Businessweek, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Sportsnet, Maclean’s, and The Walrus. In 2016 he wrote Gabriel Filippi’s The Escapist: How One Man Cheated Death on the World’s Highest Mountains (HarperCollins Canada). An assistant professor of journalism at Carleton University, he previously taught at Ryerson University and served as a bureau chief with the Munk School’s Fellowship in Global Journalism.

“I’m both humbled and honoured to receive this award,” says Popplewell. “It is a privilege to work on stories of this depth and to be published alongside so many other journalists whom I admire. I am thankful to The Walrus and to The Slaight Family Foundation for continuing to support longform journalism.”

“Brett Popplewell’s story ‘Head Games’ is a compelling narrative tapestry, weaving together strands of science and sport, morality and individual sacrifice,” says Elizabeth Renzetti, one of the jury members for the prize and a columnist at the Globe and Mail. “It asks questions about what we require from our sports heroes, and whether that cost can ever be justified. It’s a lengthy piece that moves at the pace of a thriller, but is at heart a tragedy.”

The shortlisted stories for the 2017 Allan Slaight Prize for Journalism were:
“Peace be Upon You” by Nadim Roberts (January 2017)
“Dating While Black” by Hadiya Roderique (March 2017)
“Forced Confessions” by Ben Travers (May 2017)
“Pleasure Principal” by Sarah Barmak (June 2017)
“The Grifter” by Michael Lista (June 2017)
“Head Games” by Brett Popplewell (September 2017)
“Second Coming” by Joel Barde (November 2017)
“Overhauled” by Sharon J. Riley (December 2017)
“Old Masters” by Emily Urquhart (December 2017)
“Finding the Right Words” by Derek Webster (December 2017)

The winner was selected by the following jury:

Stephen Kimber, professor of journalism at the University of King’s College, award-winning writer, editor, and broadcaster, and member of The Walrus Educational Review Committee.

Chethan P. Lakshman, vice-president of external affairs at Shaw Communications, former journalist, Walrus Foundation board member, and Optimistic Canadian.

Elizabeth Renzetti, columnist at the Globe and Mail, reporter, editor, and Walrus Talks speaker.

Devyani Saltzman, author, journalist, and director of literary arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, a non-profit partner of The Walrus.

The Walrus gratefully acknowledges The Slaight Family Foundation for their leadership in establishing this prize, and their support of our work through the Allan Slaight Writers’ Fund since 2009.

About the Slaight Family Foundation
Established in 2008, the Slaight Family Foundation is committed to making a difference. The Foundation supports projects at local and international levels related to health care, social service, arts and culture as well as at-risk children and youth. The Slaight Family Foundation undertakes bold new approaches to philanthropy to increase impact and improve the lives of those in need at home and abroad.

About Allan Slaight
Allan Slaight is one of Canada’s pre-eminent entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Among other things, Allan created Canada’s largest privately owned multi-media company, Standard Broadcasting, and was instrumental in bringing the Raptors (and the Air Canada Centre) to Toronto. Community works include having served as the chair of the United Way of Greater Toronto and the Shaw Festival. As Allan was a radio news director early in his career, he is pleased to support serious journalism through the Allan Slaight Writers Fund at The Walrus (created in 2009) and now the Allan Slaight Prize for Journalism.

For more information about the Allan Slaight Prize for Journalism please contact Aimée Ippersiel at or (416) 971-5004, ext. 237.

Angela Misri is the digital director at The Walrus, and has worked at The Banff Centre and the CBC. She has written about technology and women in technology for The Walrus, the Globe and Mail, CBC Radio and many other publications.