BC Book Prizes

SHORTLISTS ANNOUNCED
March 7, 2017

Stay in Touch

Sign up for Rebus Creative's
BC Book Prize email alerts:


For Email Marketing you can trust

Thank You, Sponsors

BC Book Prizes
#901-207 W. Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7
Tel (604) 687-2405
Fax (604) 687-2435
info@bcbookprizes.ca

2000 Winners & Finalists

April 29 | hosted by John MacLachlan Gray

 

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

Winner! The Pornographer’s Poem
by Michael Turner
Publisher: Random House

The Pornographer’s Poem

Our narrator and his friend Nettie, grade seven students, are introduced to super-8 filmmaking by a teacher. Together Nettie and the narrator find in film a means of expressing their skewed world views. At sixteen the narrator shoots his first adult film, capturing his neighbours having sex. He believes that through representations of sex he can comment on that which he finds both painful and confusing. Nettie, an idealistic poet, sees in pornography the opportunity to do something artistic, liberating, and socially relevant, and she pushes the narrator to make subversive films that critique social constructs. Ultimately the narrator falls into a world of greed, delusion, and hypocrisy - the same world he once rebelled against. Michael Turner lives in Vancouver. He has also won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. More

All the Anxious Girls On Earth
by Zsuzsi Gartner
Publisher: Anchor

All the Anxious Girls On Earth

This collection of stories gives voice to unforgettable characters in search of hope and meaning as they cope with indifferent relationships, lacklustre jobs, and a gnawing sense of dread in a world gone numb. A woman calls in fake bomb threats as revenge against her ex-lover. The mother of a girl killed by teenage guerrillas thrives spectacularly in her industrious grief, transforming herself into a forgiveness guru and talk-show host. Lured into the wilderness by her desire for a man who rebuilds vintage airplanes, a young woman finds she lusts more for biscotti and city sidewalks. These stories brilliantly capture the pathos, beauty, and alienation of contemporary society. Zsuzsi Gartner is an award-winning journalist and fiction writer. More

Before the Flood
by Alan R. Wilson
Publisher: Cormorant

Before the Flood

Before the Flood takes place in a time when satellite malls didn’t hide the horizon, when the best hockey players were found on six teams, when towns were as individual as people. Forty miles to the south of a small town, construction is about to begin on a massive dam which will alter the region forever. Alan R. Wilson was born in Moncton, NB and currently lives in Victoria, BC. He is a poet and a novelist. He won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for Before the Flood. More

Furry Creek
by Keith Harrison
Publisher: Oolichan Books

Furry Creek

A finely crafted work of literary reportage that intertwines biography, documents, narrative, and invented lives to elucidate the wild life, exquisite art, and violent death of the poet Pat Lowther, Furry Creek is a tour de force. An original opportunity to examine this singular woman and her life through the interconnectedness of the characters’ imaginary lives, this non-fiction novel supports a thoughtful, introspective interpretation of the poet’s brief life and her tragic death. Keith Harrison currently teaches at Vancouver Island University.

A History of Forgetting
by Caroline Adderson
Publisher: Key Porter

A History of Forgetting

Malcolm is a hairdresser whose partner is wasting away from Alzheimer’s. He works at a Vancouver hair salon where he trains Alison, a young ingénue from the suburbs. Their clients include a troop of old people, one of whom is a Holocaust survivor. This old woman provides innocent Alison with her first glimpse into the depredations of humanity. When one of Alison’s gay friends is murdered by skinheads, she is soon propelled on a journey of sorrow and learning, taking Malcolm with her. Her obsession takes them to Poland where they struggle to reconstitute the past at Auschwitz. This is Caroline Adderson’s first novel.

Top

 

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

Winner! Buffalo Jump: A Woman’s Travels
by Rita Moir
Publisher: Coteau

Buffalo Jump: A Woman’s Travels

Buffalo Jump chronicles Rita Moir’s travels - both with her mother and alone - from her home in Winlaw, BC to Manitoba and the Maritimes and back. Moir’s travels draw her to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump in Southern Alberta, which becomes a vital place for her. Buffalo Jump is a celebration of the mother-daughter relationship and the place of daughters in the dynamics of a family. Moir celebrates the strength of women’s relationships and explores her own history and roots in this country. Moir was awarded the Vancity Women’s Book Prize.

Across the Top of the World: The Quest for the Northwest Passage
by James P. Delgado
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Across the Top of the World: The Quest for the Northwest Passage

In the great Age of Exploration, the quest for the fabled Northwest Passage lured bold adventurers to the Arctic. They risked their lives in search of a sea route across the top of the world, connecting Europe with Asia. This spellbinding saga of Arctic exploration is brought to life in Across the Top of the World. For centuries, nations sent out countless expeditions to search for the passage, all suffering extreme hardship. The most tragic was the mysterious loss of Sir John Franklin. Attempts to sail the dangerous, icy maze of the passage ended in defeat until explorer Roald Amundsen succeeded in 1903-6. James P. Delgado, President of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, is a marine archaeologist who is the author or editor of thirty books. More

Cougar Annie’s Garden
by Margaret Horsfield
Publisher: Salal Books

Cougar Annie’s Garden

A remote garden blooms at the head of Hesquiat Harbour. In 1915, Ada Annie Rae-Arthur came to the coast as a pioneer settler. She set to work clearing the land and a garden of strange, meandering beauty slowly emerged from the deep forest. Cougars prowled nearby, and Annie shot dozens of them, earning her her moniker. Wily and stubborn, she operated a nursery garden, a store and a post office from her home. She bore eight of her children by the garden, and she outlived four husbands. Until her mid-nineties, she remained in her beloved garden. Many strands of history and lore combine in Cougar Annie’s Garden to weave together Annie’s story. Many tales are told of the grim courage, blind hope and bitter losses that have shaped this history. More

Franz Boas: The Early Years, 1858-1906
by Douglas Cole
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Franz Boas: The Early Years, 1858-1906

Franz Boas: The Early Years, 1858—1906 is a personal and intellectual biography of one of the most influential anthropologists of the twentieth century, from his childhood in Germany to his resignation from the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Douglas Cole’s thorough and deeply engaging account of Boas’s early life and career is unprecedented in drawing extensively from the vast collection of Boas’s personal and professional papers at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. Douglas Cole was a professor at SFU. He died in 1997. More

Gilean Douglas: Writing Nature, Finding Home
by Andrea Lebowitz, Gillian Milton
Publisher: Sono Nis Press

Gilean Douglas: Writing Nature, Finding Home

Gilean Douglas is a Canadian cultural icon: nature writer, journalist, farmer, feminist, politician, adventurer, poet. Born in 1900, she rejected the expectations of the class and society into which she was born and made her way in the world as an independent woman. Gilean Douglas’s writings span more than eighty years, from her childhood, through four marriages, ten years in the Cascade Mountains, and fourty years on Cortes Island, where she died in 1993. At the end of her life, she said that all she had ever wanted to do was write, and that nature provided all the subjects ever needed. Both a collection of some of the best writings by Douglas and a biography, Gilean Douglas: Writing Nature, Finding Home draws readers into Douglas’s fascinating world. More

Top

 

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Winner! What the Living Won’t Let Go
by Lorna Crozier
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

What the Living Won’t Let Go

Far-reaching in their universal truths, the poems of Lorna Crozier’s What the Living Won’t Let Go come together in a compelling narrative. Some follow the lives – from conception to death – of two families: Crozier’s own and another shadow family trapped in a dark and unrelenting history. Other poems give advice to the soul, transport the reader into the spirit world of foxes, and introduce the cat that ate Thomas Hardy’s heart. This is a moving collection that celebrates the joys of living while revealing the “names of loss and beauty.” Lorna Crozier currently lives near Victoria, BC.

49th Parallel Psalm
by Wayde Compton
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp

49th Parallel Psalm

Wayde Compton’s first poetry book: a stunning set of poems documenting the migration of blacks to Canada, specifically when the first black settlers - facing an increasingly hostile racist government - left San Francisco and travelled north to British Columbia, beginning in 1858. With recurring themes of the unknowable, the crossroads, the trickster, and entropy, 49th Parallel Psalm jumbles history, time, and the Canadian black literary canon. Wayde Compton was the Writer-In-Residence for SFU in 2007-2008. More

The Colours of the Forest
by Tom Wayman
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

The Colours of the Forest

Tom Wayman, long honoured for his incisive observations on life in the workplace and the classroom, takes a more personal turn. Many of these poems celebrate the gains and losses of “middle-aging,” while others reflect on the deaths of parents and friends. Readers of “Life with Dick” and “The Big O” will be relieved to find that, through it all, one quality of Wayman’s writing that keeps gaining in vigor is his fine subversive sense of humour. Considered the guru of the North American work poetry movement, Wayman adds depth to the tradition in his latest work by writing white-collar workers alongside blue-collar workers, drawing on his experiences in both worlds. He currently teaches at the University of Calgary. More

Love and Other Things that Hurt
by D. C. Reid
Publisher: Black Moss Press

Love and Other Things that Hurt

How does a man tell his children about divorcing their mother? Love and Other Things that Hurt follows a family through a difficult and messy situation, and chronicles the time when that man’s children leave home. Coming to terms with their going leads to readying for a new intellectual and sexual relationship. Love and Other Things that Hurt posits a generic love affair as a myth about love in Western society. This collection is gritty, intense, sometime angry and sarcastic, but ultimately tender and beautiful. D. C. Reid is a prolific poet and non-fiction writer. He is also an avid fisherman.

Things that Keep and Do Not Change
by Susan Musgrave
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Things that Keep and Do Not Change

Things that Keep and Do Not Change is award-winning poet Susan Musgrave’s first collection of poetry since her acclaimed Forcing the Narcissus. In it, Musgrave dances the threshold of ecstasy, madness, rage, and desolation, and goes further, to life beyond the moment of extremity. Yet even as we are caught in the undertow of betrayal and loss, we are buoyed up by a terrible sanity that reveals humour and beauty in the shoals of loneliness and pain. By turns dark, playful, and edgy, these poems are informed by a mature intelligence. Susan Musgrave currently lives on Haida Gwaii. More

Top

 

Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Winner! Cougar Annie’s Garden
by Margaret Horsfield
Publisher: Salal Books

Cougar Annie’s Garden

A remote garden blooms at the head of Hesquiat Harbour. In 1915, Ada Annie Rae-Arthur came to the coast as a pioneer settler. She set to work clearing the land and a garden of strange, meandering beauty slowly emerged from the deep forest. Cougars prowled nearby, and Annie shot dozens of them, earning her moniker. Wily and stubborn, she operated a nursery garden, a store, and a post office from her home. She bore eight children, and outlived four husbands. Until her mid-nineties, she remained in her beloved garden. Many strands of history and lore combine in Cougar Annie’s Garden to weave together Annie’s story. Many tales are told of the grim courage, blind hope, and bitter losses that have shaped this history. More

First Son: Portraits by C. D. Hoy
by Faith Moosang
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp/Presentation House Gallery

First Son: Portraits by C. D. Hoy

First Son is an extraordinary collection of photographs by C. D. Hoy, a Chinese-Canadian photographer whose startling, evocative portraits of First Nations, Chinese, and European people in small-town British Columbia, taken between 1909 and 1920, form an important historical and cultural document about the roots of “otherness” in Canada. Faith Moosang is a Vancouver-based artist.

Haunted Waters: Tales of the Old Coast
by Dick Hammond
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Haunted Waters: Tales of the Old Coast

These stories of coastal life come from days when the hardworking settlers who fished, hunted, ranched, and logged the West Coast had to make their own entertainment. Back then daily life was dramatic enough that storytellers didn’t have to exaggerate, but tales have a way of growing taller in a place where you have to be larger than life just to survive. In retelling these classic tales handed down by a master storyteller, Dick Hammond explores the shadowy territory between truth and myth. Dense with coastal lore, these captivating tales bear witness to a pioneer culture that mastered the art of wilderness survival, and then faded away, leaving only ghosts and stories. Dick Hammond is a life-long resident of the Sunshine Coast. More

Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest
by Derek Hayes
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest

This intriguing collection of over 320 high-quality reproductions of original maps created by explorers and navigators from over four centuries of voyages and overland treks showcases the evolution of the regions now known as British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the Yukon. There are imaginary and speculative maps, political boundary maps, military and spy maps, gold rush maps, railway maps and Hudson’s Bay company maps. The maps are combined with stories of how they came to be drawn, and the history behind them. More

Mythic Beings: Spirit Art of the Northwest Coast
by Gary Wyatt
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Mythic Beings: Spirit Art of the Northwest Coast

The power of their art comes from its deep roots in an ancient culture that is rich in ceremonial and aesthetic traditions. The mythic beings depicted in these works belong to the sea, sky, mortal, and spirit worlds: Raven, Thunderbird, Killer Whale, the Chief of the Undersea, Moon, Volcano Woman, and many more. The challenge facing artists today is to interpret myths in ways that combine innovation and tradition. That Northwest Coast art continues to flourish both in its original cultural context and in the international art world is a measure of their success. Gary Wyatt’s introduction outlines the integral place of art in the ceremonial and spiritual life of Northwest Coast societies. Gary Wyatt is a museum curator and this is his second book. More

Top

 

Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize

Winner! WOW Canada! Exploring the Land from Coast to Coast to Coast
by Vivien Bowers
Publisher: Maple Tree Press

WOW Canada! Exploring the Land from Coast to Coast to Coast

A car trip across Canada doesn’t sound like much fun to eleven-year-old Guy, especially with his little sister in tow—but even he’s won over as the adventure begins. As his family treks from coast to coast, and even up into the territories, Guy finds that Canada is surprisingly . . . interesting. His wry observations offer an honest, engaging look at Canada’s culture, history, natural wonders, and most famous sights. The 3-D scrapbook-style design, featuring wacky postcards, Guy’s cartoons, and incredible photographs, complements the fast pace and truly original style of this remarkably entertaining guide. Vivien Bowers lives in Vancouver.

The Butterflies’ Promise
by Julie Ovenell-Carter
Illustrated by Kitty Macaulay
Publisher: Annick Press

The Butterflies’ Promise

Milly loves to help her grandpa in the garden. She especially loves all of the butterflies—“Grandpa’s flying flowers,” she calls them. When Grandpa gets sick and has to move into a nursing facility, Milly is afraid that he will miss his garden. With the help of her parents, she makes sure this doesn’t happen. This is a timely story that deals with the realities of aging and the concept of change. Julie Ovenell-Carter lives on Bowen Island. 

The Divorced Kids Club and Other Stories
by W. D. Valgardson
Publisher: Groundwood

The Divorced Kids Club and Other Stories

Sam’s parents ban him from using the Internet, forcing him to get out of the house and “surf” reality. Tracy’s parents are hippies, yet all she wants is to make enough money to have a nice apartment, leather furniture, and a red car. Annie is stranded in her parents’ remote cabin and must decide for herself whether to accept rescue from a handsome stranger. And Jeremy finds himself cleaning chickens in a country village. The kids in these stories draw on their considerable inner resources to survive and adapt, no matter how rocky their journeys. To each of these tales, Valgardson brings his characteristic wit and originality. The characters’ triumphs are sometimes small, other times great, and instantly recognizable to today’s teens.

Dream Water
by Karen Rivers
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Dream Water

During a field trip to the Victoria Seaquarium, two elementary school students witness a tragic accident when a trainer falls into the killer whale pool and is deliberately drowned by the whales. Now in high school, these students have been heavily influenced by this experience. Cassie, 17, is a talented ballerina whose “shrink” parents haven’t been able to help her get over her experience. She is haunted by nightmares. Meanwhile, Holden is an alcoholic painter, obsessed with painting orcas and living in Victoria with his dad. Both teens struggle to face the horrific accident that has so influenced their lives. Karen Rivers is a prolific writer of young adult fiction and a mother of two.

Tarragon Island
by Nikki Tate
Publisher: Sono Nis Press

Tarragon Island

Heather Blake can’t believe her bad luck when her family moves from Toronto to tiny Tarragon Island in BC. What will she, a budding author, write about on this “rock in the middle of nowhere”? Heather’s mother is far too busy getting established as the local veterinarian and her father too preoccupied with his new sailboat for either of them to pay much attention to her predicament. Heather finds herself planning a brilliant escape—just like the Count of Monte Cristo. Tarragon Island explores the coves, beaches, and animal life of the Gulf Islands as well as the inner landscape of a young girl struggling to come to terms with the imperfections of her family and herself. Nikki Tate is a prolific writer and literary advocate. More

Top

 

BC Booksellers' Choice Award in Honour of Bill Duthie

Winner! Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest
by Derek Hayes
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest

This intriguing collection of over 320 high-quality reproductions of original maps created by explorers and navigators from over four centuries of voyages and overland treks showcases the evolution of the regions now known as British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and the Yukon. There are imaginary and speculative maps, political boundary maps, military and spy maps, gold rush maps, railway maps, and Hudson’s Bay Company maps. The maps are combined with stories of how they came to be drawn, and the history behind them. More

First Son: Portraits by C. D. Hoy
by Faith Moosang
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp/Presentation House Gallery

First Son: Portraits by C. D. Hoy

First Son is an extraordinary collection of photographs by C. D. Hoy, a Chinese-Canadian photographer whose startling, evocative portraits of First Nations, Chinese, and European people in small-town British Columbia, taken between 1909 and 1920, form an important historical and cultural document about the roots of “otherness” in Canada. Faith Moosang is a Vancouver-based artist.

Lions Gate
by Lilia D'Acres, Don Luxton
Publisher: Talonbooks

Lions Gate

Arching over the entrance to Vancouver’s harbour is a beautiful web of intricately suspended steel: the Lions Gate Bridge, which is an icon of the city. Like all great historic landmarks, the Lions Gate Bridge remains a source of powerful, sometimes illuminating, sometimes mysterious stories of the people and times which gave birth to them. In addition to celebrating this bridge and its grand design, Lions Gate sets out to reveal these stories for the first time. An exquisite book, Lions Gate is a celebration not to be missed by citizens and visitors alike. Lila D’Acres founded the George Woodcock Centre for the Arts and Intellectual Freedom Fund. Donald Luxton teaches in the School of Construction and the Environment at BCIT.  More

Mountains of the Coast
by John Baldwin
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Mountains of the Coast

Along British Columbia’s western edge from the Alaska panhandle to Vancouver stretches a vast alpine wilderness that ranks as one of the largest and least known on earth. Vancouver mountaineer John Baldwin has spent twenty-five years exploring and photographing this measureless wilderness. Mountains of the Coast unveils the severe beauty of these wild places, revealing page after page of unimaginably spectacular landscapes, many of which have never before been recorded on film. Mountains of the Coast is a breathtaking journey into an unknown world that will appeal to mountain climbers, outdoor enthusiasts, and armchair explorers alike. More

Oar & Sail: An Odyssey of the West Coast
by Kenneth Macrae Leighton
Publisher: Creekstone Press

Oar & Sail: An Odyssey of the West Coast

At 66, Dr. Ken Leighton, former head of anesthesia at the University of British Columbia Hospital, set off from Vancouver’s Jericho Beach in a custom-built, open rowing boat. Two years and a full logbook later, with calloused hands and a joyful heart, he docked the Morag Anne in Prince Rupert, 500 miles north of his launching point. Join Dr. Leighton as he melds a love of language, Gaelic wit, and the sea in a story set on one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Dr. Leighton died in 1998. More

Top