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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 27, 2016
Canadian Excellence


2012: Joshua Knelman

Joshua Knelman won the 2012 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives through the Secret World of Stolen Art (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011).

In Hot Art, Knelman takes what seems like a rarefied topic — art theft — and produces an engrossing narrative that is as riveting as any best-selling mystery novel. Knelman spent four years immersed in the world of international art theft, traveling around the globe to Cairo, New York, London, Montreal and Los Angeles. He befriended a master thief, a lawyer and expert on crimes against art, and a hard-working detective. Even readers who aren’t mourning the loss of the family Monet will be drawn into Knelman’s portrait of calculating art thieves and the handful of dedicated investigators who track them around the globe, often for years at a time.

Knelman is a writer and editor based in Toronto. He was a founding editorial member of The Walrus magazine, and his writing has appeared in Toronto Life, Saturday Night, The National Post and The Globe and Mail. Knelman’s feature article “Artful Crimes” in The Walrus won a gold National Magazine Award. Hot Art also won the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Nonfiction. Knelman is the co-editor of Four Letter Word: New Love Letters. For the 2011-12 academic year, he was the Barbara Moon Editorial Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto. He produces the Literary Review of Canada's speaker series, in partnership with TVO's Big Ideas, at the Gardiner Museum.

The shortlist for the 2012 Edna Staebler Award also included:

  • The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery (Harper Collins, 2011) by Andrew Westoll
  • Most of Me: Surviving My Medical Meltdown (Greystone Books, 2012) by Robyn Michele Levy