1986 Winners & Finalists
Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Winner! Foreign Affairs
by Keath Fraser
Publisher: Stoddart Publishing
The diversity of characters and approaches to storytelling in Foreign Affairs makes for a very compelling collection of prose. The first story, “Waiting,” enters the mind of a Vancouver Hindu who is a waiter in a high class French restaurant. “The Emerald City” unravels the turmoil of an adulterous TV gardening show host. “Teeth” is about a fatal camping expedition by two retired brothers in mobile homes who encounter a bizarre sect in the woods north of Pemberton. The eponymous “Foreign Affairs” succeeds in making attractive the complex problems of a frustrated invalid and the confused social alienation of his waifish, punk-haired companion. These stories show a remarkable side of Vancouver and the world through Fraser’s stunning prose. Keath Fraser lives in Vancouver.
In the Shadow of the Vulture
by George Ryga
Set in the desert at the Mexico-USA border, this novel deals with the hope and despair of immigrant labourers. George Ryga died of stomach cancer in Summerland, BC, in 1987 and will always be remembered and cherished as one of Canada’s most prolific and powerful writers. His memory was publicly honoured at the BC Book Prizes ceremony in 1993. More
The Secret Journal of Alexander Mackenzie
by Brian Fawcett
An industrial biography that investigates personal myths and the great “machines” that drive the world to the abyss of development. Born in 1944 in Prince George, BC, Brian Fawcett has written poetry, fiction and non-fiction. He has been an urban planner and a journalist. He currently lives and works in Toronto. More
by L. R. Wright
When there is a murder in a town like Sechelt, a sleepy community on Canada’s aptly named Sunshine Coast, it is necessarily unusual. And in this case no one finds it more so than the eighty-year-old culprit himself who, upon brutally striking an eighty-five-year-old crony on the head, realizes, to his great surprise, that “he is going to survive this astonishing thing.” But murder is a word far larger than much of George Wilcox’s life, and suddenly he is concerned less with his volunteer work at the local hospital, or with his prolific garden, or with his out-of-touch daughter, than with guilt and honour and with secrets of the past. L. R. Wright was an award-winning author. She passed away in 2001. More
Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
Winner! The Unfinished Country
by Bruce Hutchison
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Why, a stranger may ask, do Canadians flout the laws of geography, history, sound business, continental logic, the mandate of nature itself in a rugged land, hard to subdue, cultivate, and govern, only to be themselves? Are they driven by necessity? No, they are driven by their own free choice. Compressed in sight, sound, scent, and the nation’s secret heart are certain memories, regrets, and hopes known to us alone. We love our native ways and homemade home, even if it is far from perfect. And, there can be no better reason to keep, cherish and safeguard anything of worth. Bruce Hutchison was an author and journalist. In 1967 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He passed away in 1992.
The Journal of Private Fraser
by Reginald Roy
Publisher: Sono Nis Press
This is the journal of Scottish-born Private Donald Fraser, Canadian Expeditionary Force, during the First World War. This informative read details famous battles and trench conditions, Fraser’s contempt for inept leadership and his rather unshaken approach to “the war to end all wars.” Reginald Roy is a former professor in the Department of History at the University of Victoria.
This Is My Own: Letters to Wes
by Muriel Kitagawa
Told primarily in letters to her brother Wes, Tsukiye Muriel Kitagawa tells the story of how she, her family and thousands of other Japanese Canadians were unjustly forced into internment camps during the Second World War. Kitagawa was born in Vancouver in 1912. After the Second World War she moved to Toronto and became the senior editor of The New Age, the first newspaper to express the Nisei perspective and provide an outlet for that generation’s expressive thought and literary writing. More
Winner! Poetry Hotel
by Joe Rosenblatt
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
A poet of great range and variety, Joe Rosenblatt’s lines bristle with the energy and vibrations of the natural world. He is probably best known for his originality, his whimsical and often chant-like poems, which move from insect vitality to serpent sinuousness, covering along the way layers of human landscape. Poetry Hotel is a major selection, covering more than two decades of work (1963 - 1985) by Canada’s bon vivant surrealist poet, illustrated with his own line drawings. Joe Rosenblatt lives in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island with his wife, Faye, and their three cats.
The Glass Air
by P. K. Page
One of Canada’s leading poets, P. K. Page has selected her best work for this definitive collection. It includes all of her classic poems as well as work previously published only in literary magazines. Two short essays about various aspects of poetry and nine original drawings by Page complete the volume. P. K. Page was awarded the very first Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2004.
Letters for Some Islands
by Anne Marriott
Publisher: Mosaic Press
This is a collection of “regional” poetry from the prolific and talented Marriott. Anne Marriott was a poet, fiction writer and reporter. She passed away in 1997. More
Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize
Winner! Keepers of the Light
by Donald Graham
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
Keepers of the Light is the definitive book on coast lightkeeping that maritime history buffs have been waiting for. The book is the result of 40 years’ research by Capt. L. Cadieux, founder of the Maritime Museum of Victoria. Lightkeeper and former university history lecturer Don Graham dedicated a further ten years research and writing to create one of the most gripping sagas to ever be written about the West Coast. With spectacular full-colour covers painted by the celebrated lighthouse artist Buzz Walker, and two hundred drawings, photos, maps and plans in an attractive pictorial format, Keepers of the Light is as handsome to behold as it is exciting to read. Donald Graham is the former keeper of the Port Atkinson Lighthouse. More
Captured Heritage: The Scramble for Northwest Coast Artifacts
by Douglas Cole
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
The heyday of anthropological collecting on the Northwest Coast took place between 1875 and the Great Depression. The scramble for skulls and skeletons, poles, canoes, baskets, feast bowls and masks went on until it seemed that almost everything not nailed down or hidden was gone. The period of most intense collecting on the coast coincided with the growth of anthropological museums, which reflected the realization that time was running out and that civilization was pushing the indigenous people to the wall, destroying their material culture and even extinguishing the native stock itself. Douglas Cole was for many years a member of the Department of History at Simon Fraser University and a respected historian of BC. He died in 1997.
The Devil and Mr. Duncan
by Peter Murray
Publisher: Sono Nis Press
The first full-length study of the career of the controversial missionary William Duncan. An unordained Anglican minister, he was sent to British Columbia by the Church Missionary Society of England in 1857 to work among the Tsimshian Indians at Fort Simpson. After five years he left to establish Metlakatla but, after disputes with various governmental officials, he later moved this community north to Annette Island, near Ketchikan. He was an outspoken advocate of Indian rights, particularly land ownership, when that was not a popular cause among the land-seeking white population. Peter Murray is a journalist living in Victoria.
BC Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie
Winner! The Forests of British Columbia
by Cameron Young et al.
Publisher: Whitecap Books
The forests of British Columbia are not just a random mass of trees. They are twelve distinct plant communities, independent ecosystems that have their origins roughly 14,000 years ago when the climate developed a consistent pattern and the geographical features of the land stabilized. In this book you can learn to identify the forests by the trees, using climate, geography and plant communities to define the twelve forest groups. The forest’s histories are detailed and their miraculous chemistry described. Finally, issues facing responsible stewardship are discussed. Cameron Young is a freelance journalist living in Victoria. Bob Heger and Gunter Max are both acclaimed photographers. Ken Seabrook is a designer based in Victoria, BC.
Floating Schools and Frozen Inkwells
by John Adams and Becky Thomas
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
This humourous look at a neglected part of BC’s history will be of interest to those who were there . . . and to those who missed it! Frozen inkwells on winter mornings, black bears coming to class and wolves on the trail home in the evening are only some of the trials and adventures that one-room schoolteachers faced in the wilds of BC. Joan Adams and Becky Thomas have interviewed over 100 pioneer teachers (and some present day one-room schoolteachers) and students to produce a fascinating history of BC’s early schools. John Adams and Becky Thomas are retired teachers living in Kelowna, BC. More
Vancouver: Touch The Magic
by Philip Hersee
Publisher: Touch The Magic
Touch the Magic is an author-published hardcover book that captures the spirit of Vancouver, its people and places through stunning photography. Philip Hersee is an award-winning and globally recognized photographer.