Award News: 2013 Ottawa Book Award

Award News: 2013 Ottawa Book Award

Posted on October 23 by Michael Petrou
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Michael Petrou has won the Ottawa Book Award, with his book Is This Your First War in the English Nonfiction category. The awards were given out last night in Ottawa.

The jury had this to say:

Is This Your First War? is a harrowing journey into the heart of darkness of post-9/11 Afghanistan. In this journalistic coming-of-age story, Ottawa writer Michael Petrou has risen magnificently to the occasion.  Head, heart and spirit blend powerfully in a chronicle of a stranger in an alien land seething with ancient and modern loyalties and hatreds. Petrou's prose shimmers with small, telling moments lined with significance.

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Praise for Is This Your First War?:


Petrou’s clandestine travels in Iran and his visits with that country’s diverse and far-flung underground of brave democrats, intellectuals and dissidents provide an exceedingly rare insight into the workings of the Khomeinist police state... But it’s Petrou’s dispatches from the front lines of the “first war” of the book’s title, the freedom struggle that Canadians usually call the “war in Afghanistan,” that lend the book its heft.


ttawa Citizen


"Petrou is a wonderful storyteller and the book is replete with intriguing vignettes of the multitude of people he worked with, and against."


Literary Review of Canada


Michael Petrou

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 30, 2014
Michael Petrou photo

Michael Petrou

Michael Petrou, an award-winning senior writer at Maclean's, has covered wars and conflicts across Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. He is the author of Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, and holds a doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford. Petrou lives in Ottawa.