Into the Abyss Wins $10,000 Edna Staebler Creative Non-Fiction Award

Into the Abyss has won the 2013 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.
Established and endowed by writer and award-winning journalist Edna Staebler, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award. The $10,000 award encourages and recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance. Winning books are distinguished by first-hand research, well-crafted interpretive writing and a creative use of language or approach to the subject matter.

Into the Abyss on NPR


npr-books-logoCarol Shaben author of  “Into the Abyss” and survivor Scott Deschamps speak with NPR Morning Edition’s Steve Inskeep about the crash that transfigured the lives of its four survivors, including Shaben’s own father, a politician named Larry Shaben.

After Crashing In Canadian ‘Abyss,’ Four Men Fight To

Buy Into the Abyss


Only four men survived the plane crash. The pilot. A politician. A cop… and the criminal he was shackled to.

On an icy night in October 1984, a commuter plane carrying nine passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing six people. Four survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. Despite the poor weather, Erik Vogel, the 24-year-old pilot, was under intense pressure to fly. Larry Shaben, the author’s father and Canada’s first Muslim Cabinet Minister, was commuting home after a busy week at the Alberta Legislature. Constable Scott Deschamps was escorting Paul Archambault, a drifter wanted on an outstanding warrant. Against regulations, Archambault’s handcuffs were removed-a decision that would profoundly impact the men’s survival.

As the men fight through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth, and status are erased, and each man is forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence.


Buy Your Book Now!
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound Best Book of the Month has picked Into the Abyss as one one of their Best Books of the Month: Nonfiction for May.

How cool is that?

Check it out here.


Telling True Stories – Geist Magazine presents Marcello Di Cintio and Carol Shaben

Telling True Stories

Marcello Di Cintio and Carol Shaben will tell the stories behind their new books and share their thoughts on the rewards, and challenges of telling true stories.

Marcello Di Cintio’s Walls: Travels Along the Barricades (Goose Lane Editions) has been longlisted for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. In an ambitious blend of travel and reportage, Di Cintio asks, and attempts to answer, this question: what does it mean to live against a wall?

Carol Shaben’s Into the Abyss: How a Deadly Plane Crash Changed the Lives of a Pilot, a Politician, a Criminal and a Cop (Random House) is a powerful narrative that combines in-depth reporting with sympathy and grace to explore how a single, tragic event can upset our assumptions and become a catalyst for transformation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012, 7:00 pm                                                                                                                                   Exhibition Hall, Roundhouse Community Centre  – 181 Roundhouse Mews Vancouver    

This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.


Advance Praise for Into the Abyss


“With Into the Abyss Carol Shaben gives us an astonishing true story of catastrophe and redemption. Shaben writes from the inside out, as in the best non-fiction, creating a nuanced and tightly braided portrait of four men and their shared trauma that is by turns terrifying and deeply humane. Every line in this uniquely Canadian story rings true.” – John Vaillant, author of The Tiger

Into the Abyss is a shot of storytelling adrenalin, taut and riveting and poised beautifully between pure action and thought. An extraordinary reading experience.” – Charles Foran, author of Mordecai: The Life & Times

“Carol Shaben is a meticulous reporter and, most importantly, a remarkably empathetic one. In Into the Abyss, she combines these skills masterfully to explore the full emotional impact of a horrific accident. The drifter she never met is as alive and complex in this story as her beloved father, and together with the other two survivors they weave a powerful tale about the limits of human resilience in the face of tragedy.” – Chris Turner, author of The Leap and The Geography of Hope

“When a plane crashes in the mountains of northern Alberta, six people die, and four men of wildly different backgrounds survive-including a criminal on his way to court, who ends up rescuing his fellow passengers. But what makes this tale so remarkable is the meticulous way in which the author maps the human consequences of the tragedy: how it forged deep bonds among the survivors, and transformed their lives. This book leads us into classic, nail-biting Jon Krakauer territory-and then breaks new ground.” – Marni Jackson, co-director of the Banff Centre Mountain and Wilderness Writing Program

“In her page-turning reconstruction of a small plane crash and its large aftermath, Carol Shaben vividly charts the emotional flight paths of four survivors, each an archetypal character entangled in a fateful web of incompetence and heroism, dumb luck and deliverance, guilt and salvation, trauma and transformation. Why, for some, does a deep shock act like a wake-up call; for others, nothing but an inexorable spiral into the abyss? In the end, the strangeness of true stories continues to rival fiction.” – James FitzGerald, author of What Disturbs Our Blood: A Son’s Quest to Redeem the Past