1995 Winners & Finalists
Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Winner! To Be There With You
by Gayla Reid
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
In this debut collection, Gayla Reid draws on the doubleness and dislocation that expatriates carry in their hearts. The people in these stories grow up Catholic in 1950s Australia and come to adulthood in the turbulent decade of the Vietnam War. Moving fluidly between past and present, between Australia, Southeast Asia and Canada, Reid follows her characters as they go to war or fight against it, work to create a society they can believe in and explore the possibilities of friendship and love. The lives depicted here are full of contradictions, shot through with hope, disappointment and betrayals large and small. Gayla Reid’s stories won the 1994 CBC Radio/Saturday Night Literary Competition, the 1993 Journey Prize and a National Magazine Award.
City of Orphans
by Patricia Robertson
Publisher: Porcupine's Quill
A young Pole in a Canadian internment camp during World War I becomes obsessed with a female visitor. A contemporary young woman’s baby develops a mysterious illness while her own life is invaded by dreams of a homesick Norwegian princess from the fourteenth century. The father of a British child disappears on the Canadian frontier in the early 1950s. Luminous, sensual, haunting, City of Orphans weaves fantasy and reality together into stories of dreamlike intensity and hypnotic visual power. Patricia Robertson has taught Creative Writing at numerous colleges and has been nominated for many of Canada’s fiction prizes. More
by Grant Buday
Publisher: Oolichan Books
Josef Bodner’s earliest memories were of glass. Under Glass explores Josef’s lifelong obsession with an art that refuses him and with a life that refuses his attempts to shape it. In this novel Josef confronts the refracting nature of life and art, and the struggle to impose form on the brittle substances of experience, friendship, commitment and love. Grant Buday lives in Vancouver.
Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
Winner! Uncommon Will: The Death and Life of Sue Rodriguez
by Lisa Hobbs Birnie
Tracing the path she took from obscurity to public prominence, her physical and legal battles and private torment from the time she was diagnosed with ALS in August of 1991 to her death by suicide in February of 1994, this story illuminates the sensitive moral issues raised by Sue’s crusade and sheds light on this woman of uncommon strength and deep conviction. Lisa Hobbs Birnie is an accomplished journalist and non-fiction author.
by Denise Chong
Her curiosity piqued by a few old photographs, Denise Chong retraced a family history that spanned an ocean and linked two continents. The epic tale she unearthed was that of her grandmother’s life. Sold as a concubine to a Chinese man trying to make his fortune in the New World, May-ying became the fellow’s second wife, working the tea house circuit in the greasy Chinatowns of Canada’s West Coast to support her husband’s first wife and family back in China. Carefully balancing cool observation and compassion, Chong writes extraordinary history and gives voice to the Chinese immigrant experience as China made its dramatic twentieth-century re-entry upon the world stage. Denise Chong lives in Ottawa, Onatrio. More
by Rick Ouston
Publisher: New Star Books
A touching account of one man’s desperate search for the mother and sister he lost at birth, Finding Family leads the reader through a virtual detective story filled with hot tips and empty leads. Rick Ouston writes honestly and gravely about his frustrating hunt for family and roots in this remarkable volume. Rick Ouston is a freelance journalist.
Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
Winner! Hard Candy
by Linda Rogers
Publisher: Sono Nis Press
This collection is concerned with “estrangement and reconciliation where people know, or fail to know, one another both inside the family and in the larger community.” In Linda Rogers’s hands, language ignites meaning and imagery explodes into comets of light. Linda Rogers is an accomplished poet and novelist.
ed and mabel go to the moon
by Aaron Bushkowsky
Publisher: Oolichan Books
Aaron Bushkowsky explores the relationship of a married couple to their prairie farm and to each other in ed and mabel go to the moon. In each poem, the author gives us a small, compelling glimpse into the lives of Ed and Mabel, revealing their inner complexities with compassion and deft artistry. Aaron Bushkowsky is also an award-winning playwright who works with Langara College’s Studio 58 program.
by Adeena Karasick
Merging autobiography, criticism, feminist theory and poetry, Mêmewars puts a poetics of rupture, obsession and exile into praxis. This text writes against a sexist, imperialist discourse of idealization. It challenges the mythologies of cohesion, autonomy and stable identity. By inscribing the intertextual logomachia of the Meme, which simultaneously signifies a unit of cultural knowledge virally replicating itself in language, the French self-same, the Greek mneme (memory) and the Hebrew “Mem” (a letter hologrammatologicallly referring to the revealed and the concealed), Mêmewars becomes an autographic “echonomy” questioning borders, laws, limits. Adeena Karasick is a poet, cultural theorist and the critically acclaimed author of five books of poetry and poetic theory. More
Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize
Winner! Raincoast Chronicles: Eleven Up
by Howard White
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
Ghost towns looming silently out of the fog, villages torn apart by storms, forest fires fought with “flying boats” as big as jetliners, the Chilcotin War, grizzlies and sasquatches, life in a float camp tethered to a rocky shore - this is Raincoast Chronicles: Eleven Up. This book comprises numbers 11-15 of the Chronicles. Back in 1972, the first issue of Raincoast Chronicles caused a publishing sensation. Here was West Coast history not as a footnote to something “bigger and better” from back east, but as the voice of a distinct and powerful culture. Howard White was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2007.
Clayoquot & Dissent
by Tzeporah Berman et al.
Illustrated by Marguerite Gibbons
Publisher: Ronsdale Press
Six of BC’s foremost environmentalists — including Tzeporah Berman and Chris Hatch — offer well-documented essays that illuminate the issues behind the Clayoquot protests of 1993. The analysis reveals the lack of a scientific basis for forestry decisions, explains why Canada’s forests continue to be destroyed and proposes alternatives. Also discussed are the creation and philosophy of the Peace Camp and the radicalization of the public in response to the cutting of ancient forests. Tzeporah Berman is the Program Director for ForestEthics. More
by Beth Hill
Publisher: Horsdal & Schubart
Mixing purple patchy prose with academic references, Beth Hill describes her cruises exploring the British Columbia coast. History and legend, shaman and petroglyph, ancient and modern are combined in Seven-Knot Summers, essays about the ports and inlets from Sidney to Port Hardy. Beth Hill is an anthropologist and history buff.
Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize
Winner! The Old Brown Suitcase
by Lillian Boraks-Nemetz
Publisher: Ben-Simon (re-published by Ronsdale Press in 2008)
The Old Brown Suitcase is the story of fourteen-year-old Slava, a “hidden child” who comes to Canada from Poland after the Second World War. While Slava struggles with the English language and a new culture, she is haunted by her memories of being a Jewish child persecuted by the Nazis. Help comes through loving friends, a special boyfriend, several understanding teachers, her own creative talents and a strong will to overcome adversity. Lillian Boraks-Nemetz is a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto. She lives in Vancouver. More
by James Heneghen
Publisher: Penguin Books
At thirteen, Declan is smart, strong, self-sufficient - and a terrorist. His battleground: the grim, narrow streets of Belfast; his enemy: the British. He has thrown stones at their soldiers and hurled gasoline bombs at their armored cars. Now he’s been torn away from his native soil and sent to live in Canada with his uncle Matthew, who left Ireland to escape the endless fighting. Matthew and his family offer Declan the chance of a new life in a new place. But Declan feels he has to return to Ireland to settle the score with the British who killed his parents and his sister. Will he trade the love of his new family for a lifetime of vengeance? James Heneghan is a celebrated young adult author.
by Mary Razzell
As World War II comes to an end Jenny John is filled with high hopes. She is leaving her small village on BC’s coast to start high school in Hobson’s Landing, away from the critical eye of her mother. Most of all, the end of the war means that Jenny’s father is returning home from the Navy. But things don’t go very smoothly. Jenny is alienated at her new school and her father seems to have forgotten that he has a family, as months have passed and he is still not home. Jenny decides that she must search for the truth – and that search leads her inevitably toward the boats and the sea that she and her father have loved. Mary Razzell is the author of several young adult novels. A nurse by training, she now divides her time between Vancouver and BC’s Sunshine Coast. Snow Apples, her first novel, was nominated for a Governor General’s Award when it was first published in 1984.
BC Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie
Winner! Eagle Transforming
by Robert Davidson, Ulli Steltzer
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
This publication is the most valuable to date about carver, printmaker and painter Robert Davidson. Told in his own words, effectively allied with Ulli Steltzer’s photo documentation, it give readers a strong visual survey of the artist’s inspirations and achievements. Like his equally famous peer, Bill Reid, Davidson has been nurtured by a rich background of creative imagery, especially totem poles and ceremonial masks, and his comments here illuminate Haida culture and art forms.
The Good Company
by Tom Henry
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
If British Columbia has a favourite transportation saga, it is the story of the legendary Union Steamship Company, which operated a fleet of funky little steamships up and down the BC coast between 1890 and 1955. For hundreds of people living along the coast of BC, the Union Steamship Company was the only link to the outside world. In this bright, well-illustrated, genuine history - with 100 photographs, many of them never published before - the heyday of the Union Steamships comes beautifully to life. Tom Henry lives in Victoria, BC. More
by Rosalind MacPhee
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
MacPhee was a happily married mother of two when she discovered a lump in her breast in 1991. The trauma of the diagnosis caused her to view her own body like those of Picasso’s cubist women, broken and disarranged. The difficult decisions about further treatment and the anxious calculations about her past brought MacPhee to a profound decision. She knew what she had to do to live with cancer. She began this extraordinary book about friendship, love, motherhood and living life close to the bone. Rosalind MacPhee passed away in 1996, just after learning that she was to receive the Order of British Columbia.