Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives through the Secret World of Stolen Art  by Joshua Knelman has won the 2012 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

The award is being presented this evening at a dinner at Laurier’s Waterloo campus, at 7 p.m.

Hot Art is a hugely satisfying and meticulously researched real-life detective story that will surprise and intrigue you,” said Ute Lischke, award juror and Laurier professor of English and Film Studies.

Hot Art is published by
CANADA (English): D & M Publishers
US: Tin House Books, Fall 2012
KOREA: Sigongsa Co., Ltd.

It began with a burglary at a local art gallery and turned into an international investigation. Hot Art traces Joshua Knelman’s five-year immersion into the shadowy world of art theft, where he uncovers a devious game that takes him from Egypt to Los Angeles, New York to London, and back again, through a web of deceit, violence, and corruption.

Joshua Knelman’s investigation finds there are only a handful of detectives, FBI agents and lawyers fighting a global battle against a thriving black market that is estimated to be one of the largest in the world. Meanwhile, the chain of criminals moves from thugs on the street to multinational organized crime syndicates, to a global network of art dealers who wash the artworks’ provenance clean again. In a surprise ending, Knelman learns that corruption can appear in the unlikeliest places.

Joshua Knelman is an award­-winning arts and investigative journalist and editor. He was a founding editorial member of The Walrus magazine. 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 for Arts and Entertainment. Knelman is also the fiction editor of Four Letter Word: New Love Letters, which has sold in over ten territories worldwide.

The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is a unique award – the only one offered in Canada for the genre. Established in 1991 by writer and literary journalist Edna Staebler, it recognizes a Canadian writer of a first or second published book with a Canadian locale and/or significance.

Creative non-fiction is literary not journalistic. The writer does not merely give information but intimately shares an experience with the reader by telling a factual story using the devices of fiction, including original research, well-crafted interpretive writing, personal discovery or experience, the creative use of language or approach to the subject matter, dialogue, and a narrative about people who come alive. Rather than mere objectivity, the book should have feeling, and should be a compelling, engaging read.

The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is awarded annually and valued at $10,000.

More about the award can be found at:

Hot Art also received the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction awarded by Crime Writers of Canada and was selected for’s Top 100 Best Books of 2011 and Year-end Top Ten Non-Fiction lists.