Citizen Lab founder and director, Ronald Deibert, has won the prestigious 2021 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing for his book RESET: Reclaiming the Internet for Civil Society (House of Anansi Press). Established in honour of the late MP from Windsor, Ontario, the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing is delivered annually for an “exceptional book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers.” Delivered by the Writers’ Trust of Canada, the award was announced at the digital edition of Politics and the Pen gala on September 22, 2021.

“It was a great honour to be invited to deliver the 2020 CBC Massey lectures, for which I wrote RESET. To receive the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize from the Writer’s Trust is a wonderful surprise and truly humbling. I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of the other shortlisted authors. I hope this award helps underscore how important it is for all of us to reclaim the Internet for civil society and work collectively towards a sustainable, secure, and mutually-beneficial public sphere.” – Ronald Deibert

RESET was lauded by the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize Jury for its balance of the personal and the political:

“Ronald J. Deibert combines leading-edge research and gripping stories to expose the dangerous, even deadly, forces lurking online. With trailblazing originality, he explains why Canadians are at risk, and why it’s time to reset the internet to thwart cybercriminals, safeguard political activists, rein in environmental costs, and restrain the mayhem of social media. Reset sounds a warning siren not only for Canada, but for the world.” – 2021 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize Jury (Peter Dauvergne, Adrian Harewood, and Heather Scoffield)

In addition to winning the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize, RESET was a finalist for the Donner Prize, a Financial Times best book of Summer 2021 (Technology), a Quill & Quire book of the year, and recommended by Margaret Atwood and Edward Snowden. 

Deibert shared this year’s nomination with Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Desmond Cole, Alex Marland, and Karin Wells. Past winners include such luminaries as Kamal Al Solaylee, Jane Jacobs, Tanya Talaga, and Roméo Dallaire.

Based at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, the Citizen Lab focuses on research, development, and high-level strategic policy and legal engagement at the intersection of information and communication technologies, human rights, and global security.