My Books

My fifth book, about the fight over the proposed Energy East pipeline and what that battle says about Canada’s carbon future, will be published by Penguin Random House Canada on Oct. 2, 2018.

new irvingMy most recent book, Irving vs. Irving: Canada’s Feuding Billionaires and the Stories They Won’t Tell, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House Canada. The book tells the story of New Brunswick’s Irving family, one of the country’s wealthiest business organizations, and their relationship with the chain of newspapers they own.

Read coverage of Irving vs. Irving from the Toronto Star, Maclean’s, BNN, J-Source (review and Q&A), The Coast, L’Acadie Nouvelle, CBC, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the Portland (Maine) Press-HeraldRadio-Canada, Toby Couture, and Jesse Brown’s CanadaLand. Read excerpts here and here.

In its first week of publication, Irving vs. Irving was an Amazon Canada bestseller, and on Oct. 10, 2014, it reached No. 4 on The Globe and Mail non-fiction bestsellers list.  Irving vs. Irving was also shortlisted for the National Business Book Award and was the winner of the Atlantic Independent Booksellers Choice Award. (My acceptance speech is here.) The book was published in paperback with a new chapter in September 2015.

Some other comments on the book:

Imaginary Line: Life on an Unfinished Border was published by Goose Lane Editions in September 2011 and tells how the drawing and enforcement of the international border between the province of New Brunswick and the state of Maine, the oldest section of the frontier dividing Canada and the United States, has affected the people and communities along it. It has been reviewed in The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and was shortlisted for the 2011 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing. “Poitras has the knack of realizing larger truths in portraits of the very particular,” wrote James Laxer in his review for the Telegraph-Journal.

Here’s an excerpt (PDF), and here’s the video produced by the Writers Trust of Canada to introduce the book at the 2012 Politics and the Pen gala in Ottawa:

Beaverbrook: A Shattered Legacy, the story of the bitter and expensive ownership dispute over priceless works of art housed at Fredericton’s Beaverbrook Art Gallery, was published by Goose Lane in September 2007, and reissued in paperback in September 2008. It was shortlisted for the B.C. Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the National Business Book Award, was a Maclean’s bestseller, and was chosen as a Globe and Mail “Best Book” of 2007. It also won two Atlantic Book Awards.51rf7qxxjl_sl500_aa240_

The B.C. Award jury’s citation said: “This book is a journalistic tour-de-force that rips the canvas off Lord Beaverbrook’s cultivated self-image and creates an incisive portrait of turmoil and grasping self-interest within his family. … Poitras has written a gripping narrative that rises above reportage and contributes a significant new chapter to Canada’s post-colonial history.”

Here’s a PDF excerpt, and here’s a YouTube video of my speech at the B.C. Award ceremony:

Following the September 2009 arbitration appeal ruling in the Beaverbrook case, I wrote this piece for Goose Lane’s blog, Branta. In 2010, the gallery and the Beaverbrook U.K. Foundation settled the dispute, a development I covered in an afterword for the e-book edition.

My first book was The Right Fight: Bernard Lord and the Conservative Dilemma, published by Goose Lane Editions in 2004. It’s my account of how New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative Party spent four decades grappling with how to move beyond its traditional anglophone voting base and accommodate the province’s Acadian population within its ranks. It was shortlisted for the Atlantic Independent Booksellers Choice Award.

Paul Wells of Maclean’s called the book “a feast. … The Right Fight is big history, a story whose sweep and detail far surpass what we’re used to reading. Jacques Poitras tells the story of a century’s worth of New Brunswickers, French and English, struggling to resolve their differences through politics. He brings the toolkit of a fine reporter to the task: curiosity, diligence, and an eye for the human anecdote in this very moving tale.”

While The Right Fight is out of print, ongoing political developments suggest it’s still relevant for followers of Conservative politics.

I am also a contributor to 100 Photos That Changed Canada and 100 Days That Changed Canada, both published by HarperCollins and Canada’s History magazine, and to Canada Always: The Defining Speeches of Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

I tweet about my books here.

Lastly, here’s a blog post I wrote for Goose Lane about my three literary beacons.

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