BC Book Prizes

SHORTLISTS ANNOUNCED
March 7, 2017

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1989 Winners & Finalists

May 13 | hosted by Bill Richardson

 

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

Winner! Mimosa
by Bill Schermbrucker
Publisher: Talonbooks

Mimosa

An authentic re-creation of an extraordinary life set against the turbulent backdrop of colonial Africa, Schermbrucker’s enigmatic prose creates a sweeping historical saga from Cairo to the Cape. Bill Schermbrucker was born and raised in Africa. He now lives in North Vancouver, BC where he teaches English at Capilano College. More

Love In Beijing
by William Goede
Publisher: Cormorant

Love In Beijing

Love in Beijing examines the comedy and emotional claustrophobia of life in the Youyi Binguan, or Friendship Hotel, in Beijing, where foreign expats are housed. William Goede served in the Korean War, worked with naval intelligence, studied English in Edinburgh, taught in Rhode Island and Maine and received his Ph.D in American Black Literature in California. He taught at the University of Victoria from 1966 until 1971.

The Saxophone Winter
by Robert Harlow
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

The Saxophone Winter

The Saxophone Winter is an affecting novel set in Northern British Columbia during the winter of 1938-39, when Christopher Waterton and Emily Gordon discover each other. It is a serious love story played out during that anxious time leading up to the Second World War. It reads like adventure while portraying two very young people trying to live rich fantasies that don’t quite accord with life in small town Long River, where the Great Depression has lasted for a full ten years, the winters come down hard and dreams are difficult to make come true. Robert Harlow lives and works in the Gulf Islands, BC.

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Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

Winner! Trail To Heaven
by Robin Ridington
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Trail To Heaven

Robin Ridington has been studying the Dunne-za, or Beaver Indians, of British Columbia for more than twenty years. Trail to Heaven is as much his autobiography as it is ethnography. In the jargon of the new ethnography, it is a shared discourse, in which he translates the personal narratives and traditional stories of his Dunne-za friends with as little commentary as possible, while telling of his own intellectual development in terms similar to theirs. Robin Ridington is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of British Columbia and an adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Victoria.

Fishing with John
by Edith Iglauer
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Fishing with John

This is a love story: a convergence of two people who were able to make a rich and tender life together, and not only endure each other’s company in close quarters but revel in it. Edith Iglauer lived a sophisticated life in New York until she met and married John Daly, a commercial fisherman from BC. She spent more than four years on his boat until his sudden death. John Daly was an impassioned fisherman who was convinced that he could “think like a fish”; a mystic who felt himself to be at one with the sea and coast; and a full-blown eccentric who covered the white walls of his pilothouse with his favorite quotations in bold black letters. Edith Iglauer won the 1989 Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction for this work. More

Saltwater City
by Paul Yee
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Saltwater City

Saltwater City brings the perceptions of a previously diffident community to its own history. A text resonant with often painful first-person recollections combines with 200 photographs, most reproduced for the first time, to form a chronological portrait of the community from its earliest beginnings to the present. With the assimilation of its people into the mainstream of Canadian life following World War II, Saltwater City, as early Chinese immigrants called the community, was threatened, but changes in attitude, government policy and the opening of diplomatic relations with China instead caused a renaissance. Paul Yee is also the author of award-winning children’s books. More

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Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Winner! Circling North
by Charles Lillard
Publisher: Sono Nis Press

Circling North

This is Charles Lillard’s hymn to British Columbia. Poems entitled “Lac La Hache,” “Vanderhoof” and “Lytton” sing the praises of place not often in the limelight; thanks to Lillard, they have been immortalized here. Charles Lillard was a poet and an historian specializing in the Northwest Coast. He passed away in 1997.

A Dancing Star
by Doug Beardsley
Publisher: Thistledown Press

A Dancing Star

A Dancing Star explores in vivid, intricately crafted verse the beauty and the mystery of the human spirit. Whether he is addressing his young daughter, paying tribute to great composers, or reflecting upon his past life and loves and his own mortality, Beardsley is often inspiring, often painfully honest and always profoundly moving. Doug Beardsley has taught English at the University of Victoria, and has published a number of books of poetry as well as being widely published in literary journals and magazines across Canada.

what we have
by bill bissett
Publisher: Talonbooks

what we have

This is a stunning collection of bissett’s always engaging poetry. It also includes images done by bissett that add to the life and vibrancy of his work. bill bissett has remained at the cutting edge of poetics and performance works for almost forty years. He now writes and paints out of studios in Vancouver and Toronto.

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Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Winner! Resistance and Renewal
by Celia Haig-Brown
Publisher: Tillicum/Pulp

Resistance and Renewal

One of the first books published to deal with the phenomenon of residential schools in Canada, Resistance and Renewal is a disturbing collection of Native perspectives on the Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS) in the British Columbian interior. Interviews with thirteen Natives, all former residents of KIRS, form the nucleus of the book, a frank depiction of school life and a telling account of the system’s oppressive environment which sought to stifle Native culture. Celia Haig-Brown is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. More

The Accidental Airline
by Howard White
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

The Accidental Airline

Jim Spilsbury bought an airplane in 1943, when wartime restrictions prevented the use of his boat to visit the upcoast camps and settlements where he repaired radios. From this innocent beginning grew Queen Charlotte Airlines. This is the history of the accidental airline and those incredible years of flying, growing and scrambling. There are tales of mercy flights, tragic crashes and miraculous rescues and escapes, and many entertaining details of the luck, business skill and hard work needed to keep an airline aloft. Affectionately known as “Queer Collection of Aircraft,” QCA beat out the competition to reign for one glorious decade as the queen of the booming postwar coast. Howard White was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007. More

Stoney Creek Woman
by Bridget Moran
Publisher: Tillicum/Pulp

Stoney Creek Woman

The captivating story of Mary John, a pioneering Carrier Native woman whose life on the Stoney Creek reserve in Central BC is a capsule history of First Nations life from a unique woman’s perspective. A mother of twelve, Mary endured much tragedy and heartbreak - the pangs of racism, poverty and the deaths of six children - but has survived with extraordinary grace and courage. In 1997 she received the Order of Canada. Though she passed away in 2004, she continues to be a positive role model. Bridget Moran, who passed away in 1999, was a social worker with a fiery passion for social justice. More

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Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize

Winner! Sunny
by Mary-Ellen Lang Collura
Publisher: Irwin

Sunny

Injured in a race, racehorse Sunny is nursed back to health – and to success as a jumper – by high school student Sophie, her brother Mike, and their older friend Olga, who is a Holocaust survivor. Sunny’s owner is impressed and puts the horse into professional jumping competitions. But will Sunny keep winning without Sophie and Mike there to encourage him? Set in the Flats of Vancouver, this is the powerful story of the magnificent racehorse, Sunny. Mary-Ellen Lang Collura is a part-time English teacher. She lives on a farm near Parksville, BC.

Catriona’s Island
by Florence McNeil
Publisher: Groundwood

Catriona’s Island

Back on the island where her grandfather runs a lighthouse, Catriona McLeod wonders what her future holds, now that she has graduated from high school. Can she bear to go back to the hated city to study to be a teacher, as her grandparents expect? Will she stay on the island and help run the lighthouse, which suddenly holds such unexpected terror for her? Or is there any hope that she can pursue her dream to be an artist? Then Catriona meets Bill Harrison - older, attractive and accomplished - and she can’t help wondering whether he holds the answer to her problem. Catriona’s Island is a touching coming-of-age story. Florence McNeil’s work has been translated into a dozen languages, and has won awards in Canada and the USA. She currently lives just outside Vancouver, and is writing full time.

Mood Pocket, Mud Bucket
by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

Mood Pocket, Mud Bucket

Sonia, a child of many moods and many faces, lives on a farm in Northern British Columbia with her mother and father, many adventuresome cows and chickens with hip waders. Their nearest neighbour is Laslo, with his marvellous collection of old washing machines, used TV sets and a backhoe bucket. When the cows break out of their corral, and heavy rains turn the pasture land to lake, Sonia, Laslo and the backhoe bucket manage a roundup second to none in excitement and charm. Deborah Turney Zagwyn lives in Powell River on BC’s Sunshine Coast.

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BC Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie

Winner! Stein: The Way Of The River
by Michael M'Gonigle, Wendy Wickwire
Publisher: Talonbooks

Stein: The Way Of The River

The valley of the Stein River is a unique North American ecological and cultural treasure, located 100 miles from Vancouver. The Stein is an intact watershed which contains a rare abundance of artifacts, pictographs and other cultural evidence of some 7,000 years of ecologically sound Native occupation and use. Stein: The Way of the River offers the reader a glimpse of the physical and cultural richness of this valley. Michael M’Gonigle is a cross-appointed professor of the Faculty of Law and the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Wendy Wickwire holds a cross appointment in the Department of History and the School of Environmental History at the University of Victoria.

A Life In The Country
by Bruce Hutchison
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

A Life In The Country

To several generations of Canadian readers, Bruce Hutchison has been one of our most beloved newspapermen. But never before had he written of his lifelong, private determination to eschew the corridors of power and live, quite simply, a life in the country. This wonderful book reveals the private man and fondly recalls the characters, bittersweet memories, joys and gentle tribulations of “the country life that urban dwellers envy and fortunately escape.” Bruce Hutchison was an author and journalist and in 1967 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He passed away in 1992.

Never Chop Your Rope
by Joe Garner
Publisher: Cinnabar Press

Never Chop Your Rope

Never Chop Your Rope is a memoir about the people Joe Garner met in the logging business, both on the Coast and in the Interior. Moving from the era of oxen and steam to the era of logging with helicopters, Garner’s book profiles the likes of high-rigger Mauno Pelto, steam railroader Bob Swanson, helicopter logging expert Steve Tremper and Mac-Blo VP, John Hemmingsen. Between 1926 and 1970, Garner worked throughout the logging industry, running up to half a dozen logging camps at a time, accumulating over 3,000 hours as a floatplane pilot. Garner kept track of his adventures in his diaries for forty years. With the aid of those diaries, flight logs and old photos, he says his memory of the distant past is sharper than his memory of recent events, which makes for a compelling read.

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