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1996 Winners & Finalists

 

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

Winner! Coming Down from Wa
by Audrey Thomas
Publisher: Viking

Coming Down from Wa

William Kwane MacKenzie’s life has always been full of puzzles. His grandfather is able to answer some of his questions, and directs him to the place where he knows the rest of the answers can be found: Africa. Ghana, and the time William’s parents spent there as aid workers in the sixties, hold the key to the family’s secret past. And so William embarks on a voyage that will take him around the globe and into the past on a heart-wrenching quest for the truth, and a knowledge of himself that can be found only in this mysterious, challenging, and beautiful land. Audrey Thomas lives and works on Galiano Island.

The Rain Ascends
by Joy Kogawa
Publisher: Penguin Books

The Rain Ascends

As a middle-aged mother, Millicent is confronted with the secrets of her father’s past as she recalls certain events in her childhood. A childhood that, on the surface, was a blissful one. Disbelief turns to confusion as she faces up to the sins of her father, a respected Anglican preist who abused young boys, and wrestles with a legacy of lies, silence, and her own embattled conscience. In The Rain Ascends, Joy Kogawa beautifully sifts the truth from the past and the sinner from the perceived saint. The result is a sensitive, poetic, yet searing depiction of the wounds left by abuse and the redemption brought by truth. Joy Kogawa is a member of the Order of Canada. More

Through the Canyon
by Lorraine Vernon
Publisher: Ekstasis Editions

Through the Canyon

The twelve stories in Through the Canyon define the paths each of us must take on the journey of life. Each of the characters in the stories move through the passages of private dreams, memories, and desires to create for themselves a sense of meaning or purpose to carry with them on the remainder of the journey. Lorraine Vernon passed away in White Rock on April 21, 2004. More

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Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

Winner! Letter from Vienna
by Claudia Cornwall
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Letter from Vienna

An innocent request to an uncle in Vienna for family photos spurs Claudia Cornwall to delve through her family history to find her Jewish roots. Her parents, she discovers, fled Nazi Germany and set up a Christian household in Shanghai to protect themselves. This book gives a picture of the subterfuges that Jewish refugees had to use to survive and give their children security. Claudia Cornwall teaches at Douglas College and Simon Fraser University.

Too Good to be True: Alcan’s Kemano Completion Project
by Bev Christensen
Publisher: Talonbooks

Too Good to be True: Alcan’s Kemano Completion Project

On January 23, 1995, British Columbia’s Premier, Mike Harcourt, announced that he was cancelling Alcan’s Kemano Completion Project. But is such a simple political announcement all it will take to cancel this $1.4 billion hydro megaproject? This book outlines the forty-five-year history of Alcan’s industrial activities in BC, uncovers the back-room political deals that have made those activities possible, and discusses the roles Canada’s federal and provincial governments must play in their attempts to reverse the dangerous precedents that the Alcan deals have set. This book is necessary reading for those who wish to remain informed on the question of who is to control North America’s vital water and power resources in the twenty-first-century. Bev Christensen is the director of BC Rail and Westel. More

Underlying Vibrations: The Photography of John Vanderpant
by Sheryl Salloum
Publisher: Horsdal & Schubart

Underlying Vibrations: The Photography of John Vanderpant

An internationally renowned photographer, John Vanderpant was a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, which in his day was the highest possible honour. Underlying Vibrations presents the biography of a talented and much-loved man and, for the first time, a portfolio of fifty-eight of his most celebrated images. Sheryl Salloum has worked as a teacher and as a freelance journalist.

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Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Winner! Too Spare, Too Fierce
by Patrick Lane
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Too Spare, Too Fierce

Too Spare, Too Fierce, a collection of love poems and elegies, is the twenty-second volume of poetry that Patrick Lane - hailed as “the best poet of his generation” - has produced during his thirty-year career as a writer. He is one of the few poets in the world who can leave readers not just shaken, but shaking. Lane lives with his partner in Victoria, BC. More

The Edge of Time
by Robin Skelton
Publisher: Ronsdale Press

The Edge of Time

In this collection of poems, Robin Skelton walks the edge, looking forwards and backwards. Meditating on roads taken and not taken, he employs his poetic gift to consider our relation to time: how we are immersed in it, and yet able to step through to other dimensions. One of Canada’s finest translators, Skelton also includes a series of translations of such international modernist masters as Rilke, Baudelaire, and Yuli Daniel. Robin Skelton passed away in 1997; he was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. More

To this Cedar Fountain
by Kate Braid
Publisher: Polestar

To this Cedar Fountain

To this Cedar Fountain contains poems to, about, and inspired by Emily Carr, famous West Coast painter. Kate Braid’s first book Covering Rough Ground won the Pat Lowther Award. The book chronicles her time spent as a female carpenter.

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Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Winner! HR: A Biography Of H. R. MacMillan
by Ken Drushka
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

HR: A Biography Of H. R. MacMillan

Harvey Reginald MacMillan (1885-1976) is one of the most significant figures in Canadian corporate history. H.R. was a prominent and influential man, always forthcoming on matters of principle. But he was also very reserved, private and complicated. Drushka’s portrait of him, compiled over years of reading through public record and working closely with MacMillan’s family and business associates, is a respectful but clear-eyed look at the real H.R.: the ardent conservationist who was also a ruthless business tycoon. Ken Drushka worked as a journalist before spending sixteen years as a logger, silvicultural contractor and the operator of a custom sawmill. Drushka passed away at the age of 63 in 2004.

Dogless in Metchosin
by Tom Henry
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Dogless in Metchosin

Honest, offbeat, and very funny, Tom Henry’s stories about living in the country are about phenomena you won’t find in the Farmer’s Almanac: mud rooms, chimney fires, Hundred Chicken Soup, the country art of cussing, and Auction Fever, which causes a sensible, cut-your-firewood-in-the-spring man to stagger out of a barn with fifteen metal desks because “it was such a good deal.” In fact, country life would be just about perfect for Henry and his family, if they only had a wet, stinky dog sleeping on the couch. Tom Henry currently lives in Victoria, BC. More

Wild Colonial Boy: A Memoir
by Patrick Reid
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Wild Colonial Boy: A Memoir

Through the mud and the blood with the North Irish Horse during World War II to the genteel parlours of international diplomacy, Patrick Reid served his nation. As a Military Police commander in the steamy jungles of postwar Malaya or the behind-the-scenes diplomatic fixer at the Canada-Russia hockey series, he wrestled with opposing forces. Whether assisting in the birth of Canada’s new flag or in the rebirth of Canada’s international stature at Expo ’86, he helped history unfurl. This is a warm and perceptive memoir by a passionate Canadian. Patrick Reid is now retired and divides his time between Gossip Island and Vancouver, BC.

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Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize

Winner! How Smudge Came
by Nan Gregory
Illustrated by Ron Lightburn
Publisher: Red Deer Press

How Smudge Came

In the group home where Cindy lives, no dogs are allowed, so she must bundle her puppy up when she goes to work as a cleaning woman in the hospice. One patient is so blind with illness that she can barely see the dog; to her it just looks like a smudge. But, oh, how nice it is to hold the puppy. What is Cindy to do? How will she care for Smudge? Nan Gregory also won the Mr. Christie’s Book Award for Best Canadian Children’s Book for How Smudge Came. Ron Lightburn is a Governor General’s Award winner. More

Emily Carr’s Woo
by Constance Horne
Illustrated by Lissa Calvert
Publisher: Oolichan Books

Emily Carr’s Woo

Emily Carr, an artist who is very fond of animals, has traded a puppy for a two-year-old Javanese monkey. Her sisters disapprove of this new pet, but Emily is determined to keep the monkey, which she names “Woo” because of the sound it makes. Woo has many adventures (and gets into a lot of mischief!) while she lives with Emily Carr. Constance Horne is the author of numerous books. She lives in Victoria. Lissa Calvert lives in Sooke, BC.

Finders Keepers
by Andrea Spalding
Publisher: Dundurn

Finders Keepers

While walking through a farmer’s field near his home, Danny Budzinsky finds a strange object he thinks might be an arrowhead. His friend, Joshua Brokenhorn, a Peigan boy from the nearby reserve, tells him it’s a lance point and invites Danny to the Interpretive Centre at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump to find out more about it. In their search for information, Danny and Joshua stumble into many adventures. They sneak into a museum and nearly get caught, they visit a traditional pow wow, and they learn about the old ways of hunting buffalo. As Danny begins to understand the history of the Peigan nation, he also begins to understand something about himself, and why he is having problems at school. Andrea Spalding lives on Pender Island, BC. More

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BC Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie

Winner! Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast Pillow Book
by Bill Richardson
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast Pillow Book

Greetings from the Bachelor Brothers’ Bed & Breakfast! This rustic retreat on a beautiful island is run by Hector and Virgil, a pair of endearing yet eccentric twins. In this pillow book, the brothers confide the misadventures, misunderstandings, and goings-on under their hospitable roof. Meet Waffle the cat, Mrs. Rochester the parrot, the ghost of Mother, and the clientele of slightly confused and gentle, bookish people. Bill Richardson is best known as the host of CBC’s perennial favourite, Richardson’s Roundup. More

Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays
by Candace Savage
Publisher: Greystone

Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays

In an original and scrupulously researched text, Candace Savage describes the lives and behaviours of sixteen representative species of corvids—members of the crow family. Drawing on the most recent research, she suggests that the birds may apply their mental powers to such everyday activities as choosing mates, building nests, teaching their young, searching for food, and communicating with each other. Bird Brains is written in an easy conversational style, and supplemented with breathtaking colour photography. Candace Savage currently lives in Saskatoon, SK. More

HR: A Biography of H. R. MacMillan
by Ken Drushka
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

HR: A Biography of H. R. MacMillan

Harvey Reginald MacMillan (1885-1976) is one of the most significant figures in Canadian corporate history. H. R. was a prominent and influential man, always forthcoming on matters of principle. But he was also very reserved, private, and complicated. Drushka’s portrait of him, compiled over years of reading through public records and working closely with MacMillan’s family and business associates, is a respectful but clear-eyed look at the real H. R.: the ardent conservationist who was also a ruthless business tycoon. Ken Drushka worked as a journalist before spending sixteen years as a logger, silvicultural contractor, and the operator of a custom sawmill. Drushka passed away at the age of sixty-three in 2004.

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