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Political Science Canadian

The Candidate

Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

by (author) Noah Richler

Doubleday Canada
Initial publish date
Jan 2019
Canadian, Political, Artists, Architects, Photographers
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2019
    List Price

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A comical and revealing account of what it's like to run for office with no political experience, little money and only a faint hope of winning, told first-hand by celebrated writer Noah Richler.

During the 2015 federal election, approximately 1200 political campaigns were held across Canada. One of those campaigns belonged to author, journalist and political neophyte Noah Richler. Recruited by the NDP to run in the bellwether riding of Toronto-St Paul's, he was handed $350 and told he would lose. But as veteran NDP activists and social-media-savvy newbies joined his campaign, Richler found himself increasingly insulated from the stark reality that his campaign was flailing, imagining instead that he was headed to Parliament Hill. In The Candidate, Richler recounts his time on the trail in sizzling detail and hilarious frankness, from door knocking in Little Jamaica to being internet-shamed by experienced opponents. The Candidate lays bare what goes on behind the slogans, canvassing and talking points, told from the perspective of a political outsider. With his signature wit and probing eye, Noah Richler's chronicle of running for office is insightful, brutally honest and devastatingly funny.

About the author

NOAH RICHLER produced and hosted documentaries for BBC Radio for many years before returning, in 1998, to his native Canada to join the National Post. He has worked in bars, mines, newspapers, and the theatre; as a prospector’s assistant in the Yukon and on a lobster boat in Nova Scotia. He is an author, journalist, cultural critic, an occasional broadcaster and, since 2014, the Literary & Ideas Curator of Toronto’s Luminato Festival of Arts and Creativity. He has won two gold National Magazine Awards and is the author of This Is My Country, What’s Yours? A Literary Atlas of Canada, which won the 2007 British Columbia Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and was picked in 2010 as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by Macleans news magazine, and What We Talk About When We Talk About War, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing.

Noah Richler's profile page


  • Short-listed, Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Writing

Editorial Reviews

Finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
A Globe and Mail Best Book
A National Post Best Book

"A jaunty, well-written manual for how to fail in politics. . . . Mr. Richler paints a warm picture of his shambolic campaign." —The Globe and Mail 

"[Richler's] self-awareness is what makes his account, at times as chaotic as the campaign itself, so compelling. By the end, readers can't help but conclude that every suspicion, hope and cliché about politics is both true and false." —Maclean’s

"Richler takes readers through a humourous look at the ins and outs of a political campaign by combining his reminiscences with Facebook posts, Twitter conversations, a Shakespearean parody, daydreams, op-eds and even commentaries from volunteers. . . . The Candidate is a fascinating look at the election process, if somewhat dispiriting in its disclosure of how it works." —Toronto Star
"[Richler] has penned an insightful, often scathing, always self-deprecating account of his brief foray into Canadian politics. . . . The Candidate is one of the more droll yet heartfelt accounts of the Canadian electoral process, and one that would have doubtless left his dad proud." —Montreal Gazette 

"The Candidate is as engaging as any book written about Canadian politics in a long time. Unsurprisingly, the quality of Richler's writing far surpasses that of the typical Canadian political memoir. . . . He doesn't seem to be holding anything back." —Quill & Quire
"The Candidate is a groundbreaking Canadian political memoir because of its honesty. . . . [Richler is] open and funny about what it's like to door-knock, and he's insecure, over-confident, sarcastic and very witty, sometimes all at the same time, about life on the campaign trail. This is a refreshingly funny, well-written account of what it's like to run for federal office in this country, from the ground." —The Hill Times

Other titles by Noah Richler