1999 Winners & Finalists
April 24 | hosted by Raffi
Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
Winner! Broken Ground
by Jack Hodgins
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Broken Ground is a riveting exploration of the dark, brooding presence of the First World War in the lives of the inhabitants of a “soldier’s settlement” on Vancouver Island. From out of a stubborn, desolate landscape studded with tree stumps, the settlers of Portuguese Creek have built a new life for themselves. But when an encroaching forest fire threatens this fledgling settlement, it also intensifies the remembered horrors of war. By turns heart-rending and tragic, humourous and humane, Broken Ground is a powerful novel that immerses us in the lives of an entire community. Jack Hodgins is the award-winning author of seven novels.
The Handless Maiden
by Loranne Brown
Publisher: Random House
Robbed of her career as a concert pianist due to a tragic childhood accident, Mariah Standhoffer is compelled to seek alternate means of artistic expression, eventually achieving renown as a composer. Mariah’s shattered life turns on a series of complex relationships with others who have suffered damage in their lives — particularly Doug and Sully, challengers for her love. These vividly realized characters learn to make opportunity out of accident and ultimately find dignity in compassion. Loranne Brown lives in Langley.
Pool-Hopping and Other Stories
by Anne Fleming
The fascinating characters in this short story collection come from differing backgrounds and generations, but all sense disorder lurking beneath the fragile surface of existence. These finely crafted, witty, and engaging stories were shortlisted for the 1999 Governor General’s Fiction Award. Anne Fleming currently teaches Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia - Okanagan.
Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
Winner! Titans: How the New Canadian Establishment Seized Power
by Peter C. Newman
Publisher: Penguin Books
In this book, Titans: How the New Canadian Establishment Seized Power, Peter C. Newman takes a daring look at Canada’s mega-wealthy, all-powerful gunslingers, who will define the way we live and work in the twenty-first-century. For the first time we get an intimate look into the lives and careers of these men and women who are true inhabitants of the global village, creatures more of their time than their place. Like all of Newman’s books, Titans is an explosive mixture of good humour and tough commentary. Peter C. Newman is one of Canada’s most successful and honoured writers.
Anything for a Laugh: Memoirs
by Eric Nicol
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
“What are memories?” writes Eric Nicol in this humourous and touching volume. “Laundered biography?” In this case, memoirs are the rollicking, funny life and times of Eric Nicol. Eric Nicol is one of Canada’s most beloved humourists. He was the first recipient of the BC Gas Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contribution to the literary arts in 1995. More
Romancing Mary Jane: A Year in the Life of a Failed Marijuana Grower
by Michael Poole
After many years as a successful documentary film producer and director, Michael Poole found himself suffering from serious bumout. Retreating from the demands of the city to a waterfront acreage on British Columbia’s idyllic Sunshine Coast, he threw himself into wholesome toil: the cultivation of marijuana. Romancing Mary Jane is an intimate, funny and eye-opening depiction of ten months in the life of a neophyte marijuana grower. It is also an entertaining examination of cannabis culture.
Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
Winner! How I Joined Humanity at Last
by David Zieroth
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
How I Joined Humanity at Last, David Zieroth’s fifth book of poems, explores the mid-life road to renewal and tells the story of one man’s journey toward compassion. His poetry is concerned with inwardness, with loss and longing, with imagination and memory, and ultimately with dream work that returns us to ourselves and to a sense of community. The voice that emerges is as strong as it is haunting and compelling. Zieroth teaches Creative Writing at Douglas College. More
Songs for Relinquishing the Earth
by Jan Zwicky
Publisher: Brick Books
Songs for Relinquishing the Earth contains many poems of praise and grief for the imperiled earth, drawing frequently on Jan Zwicky’s experiences on the landscapes of the Prairies and rural Ontario. Songs for Relinquishing the Earth was first published by the author in 1996 as a handmade book, each copy individually sewn for its reader in response to a request. She overestimated her ability to keep up with demand as word spread. So, in publishing it, Brick Books has attempted to remain as faithful as possible to the spirit of those original gestures, while making it possible for more readers to have access to this remarkable book. Jan Zwicky grew up on the Prairies and currently teaches Philosophy at the University of Victoria. More
St. Mary at Main
by Patrick Friesen
Publisher: The Muses Company
In St. Mary at Main, Patrick Friesen’s lyrical toughness works beautifully to evoke the city of “ghosts and muscle” and “frost and fire” that is Winnipeg. Written with clarity, insight, and deep compassion these poems are acutely tuned to “how the streets are wired” in a city where the omnipresent wind haunts every corner and the music of the people seems to spill from every doorway. Friesen currently lives in Vancouver.
Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize
Winner! River of the Angry Moon: Seasons on the Bella Coola
by Mark Hume, Harvey Thommassen
The Bella Coola River, now closed to steelhead fishing because the stocks are endangered, is a magnificent sight. In this poetic and powerful book, Mark Hume describes a year in the life of the river as he fly-fishes for the elusive steelhead. Along the way he describes the incredible beauty and fecundity of the valley ecosystem through the seasons, examines what has happened to that increasingly endangered ecosystem and its inhabitants in recent times, and encounters other anglers, old-timers who have fished the river for decades, and an abundance of wildlife. Mark Hume is a journalist and senior correspondent with The Vancouver Sun. More
Handmade Forests: The Treeplanter’s Experience
by Helene Cyr
Publisher: New Society
Thousands of treeplanters endure bugs, bears, mud, inhospitable terrain, and severe weather to replant the nation’s forests. Handmade Forests pays the respect that is due to the courageous and hardworking people who quietly plant forests where forests have been cut down, and upon whom we all rely more and more for maintaining the equilibrium of the planet. Containing over 100 gallery style black and white photographs, Handmade Forests will be of major interest to the forest industry, environmentalists, government ministries, photographers, and - because of its dramatic coffee-table quality - to both planters and non-planters alike. Helene Cyr has worked as a photographer for over twenty years.
by Sean Rossiter
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
The Hotel Georgia is one of Vancouver’s oldest hotels and certainly one of its finest. Since it was built in 1927 in the heart of Downtown it has served as a social centre for Vancouverites and a home away from home for celebrities from around the world. Careers began, legends solidified, and magic occurred at this landmark hotel. Sean Rossiter’s lively text combines with a stunning selection of photographs to make this book a delight. This is not only a lavish tribute to a great hotel but also a social history of Vancouver as seen from one of the city’s best vantage points.
Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize
Winner! Driftwood Cove
by Sandra Lightburn
Illustrated by Ron Lightburn
Katelyn and Matthew, who live in the city, are visiting their grandparents on the West Coast. During a camping trip, the two children lose their way on the beach. They meet a little girl who offers to help, and takes Katelyn and Matthew home with her. Selena and her parents are squatters, living in a makeshift dwelling of huge hollow tree stumps and driftwood. They make their living selling driftwood carvings and subsist mostly on nature’s bounty from the ocean and their garden. The city children become aware of a lifestyle and a relationship with the environment very different from their own. Sandra Lightburn lives in Nova Scotia.
The Boy in the Attic
by Paul Yee
Illustrated by Gu Xiong
Seven-year-old Kai-ming and his family have just moved from their village in China to a city in North America. Unable to speak English, Kai-ming is lonely and isolated, with no friends. But one day Kai-ming meets a mysterious boy living in the attic of his house. Kai-ming and Benjamin play secretly together all summer. When Kai-ming’s father announces that the family can move into a nicer house, Kai-ming doesn’t want to leave. But when he learns the truth about Benjamin, he realizes that to make a life in this new country he must learn the language and find new friends. Paul Yee worked as an archivist for Vancouver and Ontario, an experience that led him to storytelling as a way to keep history alive.
The Doctor’s Apprentice
by Ann Walsh
Publisher: Beach Holme
Barkerville, 1868. Fourteen-year-old Ted MacIntosh has been plagued with nightmares since the hanging death of James Barry. In hopes of overcoming his demons, Ted apprentices with the local doctor, J. B. Wilkinson. The prescribed medicine seems to work and, for a while, Ted is able to cope. As Ted becomes more comfortable with J. B. and his position, he begins to come into his own. But after helping with the delivery of twins Ted begins to notice the doctor changing. It becomes evident that the doctor has his own demons to overcome. After J. B. takes a brief leave, things even out until Ted is asked to sit with a dying Chinese man, and everyone is forced for one final time to face the ghosts of their past. Ann Walsh lives in the Cariboo region of BC.
BC Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie
Winner! Westcoasters: Boats that Built BC
by Tom Henry
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
Here is the story of the unique vessels that make up BC history’s fleet. The Beaver, the first steamer on the coast, whose chunky form is inseparable from nineteenth-century BC history. The Lady Alexandra, a passenger ship in the Union Steamship fleet, is remembered as one of the most beautiful vessels on the coast despite its undignified end as a floating disco in California. The Lootaas, a fifty-foot Haida dugout carved in the mid-1980s by BC’s preeminent Haida artist Bill Reid, helped lead to the great revival of Native canoe building. Informative and amusing, and just a bit playful, Westcoasters brings the province’s strange and romantic nautical history to life. Tom Henry lives in Victoria, BC. More
The Clouded Leopard
by Wade Davis
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Driven by the desire to discover new plants for healing and visions, as well as to learn about other ways of knowing the wild, Wade Davis journeys from Borneo to Tibet, from the Arctic to the Sahara. He samples the first hallucinogen from the animal kingdom, searches for the legendary clouded leopard, and reveals the dimensions of a potential worldwide economic disaster involving rubber. With passion and insight, he describes Vodoun priests, Inuit narwhal hunters, and jaguar shamans who journey beyond the Milky Way. From his travels, he returns with stories of unusual individuals, shamanic wisdom about healing, and a deeper understanding of the connections between traditional peoples and their homelands. Wade Davis is an explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society. More
Guiding Lights: BC’s Lighthouses and their Keepers
by Chris Jaksa, Lynn Tanod
Publisher: Harbour Publishing
Canada’s West Coast has one of the most extensive networks of staffed lighthouses remaining anywhere in the world and Guiding Lights visits all the most significant sites. Jam-packed with magnificent full-colour photographs and firsthand accounts from lightkeepers on every part of the coast, this spectacular book captures the romance and beauty of British Columbia’s lighthouses. Here are the lightkeepers’ own tragic, inspiring, humourous, and eerie stories of life on the lights. Guiding Lights is a moving tribute to the people who have lived and worked on the lights and a valuable portrait of what continues to be a proud maritime heritage. Lynn Tanod and Chris Jaksa live in Vancouver. More