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The Writers’ Trust of Canada has named University of Toronto professor Dan Breznitz the inaugural winner of the $60,000 Balsillie Prize for Public Policy.

The new annual award, backed by former BlackBerry chief executive Jim Balsillie, recognizes a non-fiction book shaping Canadian discourse about public policy.

Breznitz received the honour at a private Toronto dinner on Tuesday for Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World, published by Oxford University Press.

The book examines how policy-makers prioritize invention over innovation to the detriment of their communities.

In their citation, the jury said Breznitz “offers advice for leaders at all levels: you don’t have to invent it; you do, however, have to bring it to market in a better way.”

The runners-up, who each received $5,000, include former MP Jody Wilson-Raybould for ‘Indian’ in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, published by HarperCollins Canada; Globe and Mail health columnist Andre Picard for Neglected No More: The Urgent Need to Improve the Lives of Canada’s Elders in the Wake of a Pandemic, from Random House Canada; and Victoria journalist Gregor Craigie for On Borrowed Time: North America’s Next Big Quake, published by Goose Lane Editions.

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