Announcing the Winners and Finalists for the 2020 BC and Yukon Book Prizes!

The West Coast Book Prize Society is thrilled to announce the winners and finalists for the 2020 BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Congratulations to the authors, illustrators, and publishers!

Winners were announced on our Gala Award Presentation video on Saturday, September 19th. To view the Award Presentation video click here.

» Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes
» Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
» Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
» Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize
» Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize
» Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
» Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize
» Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award
» Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence
» Borealis Prize: The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution


Jim Deva Prize for Writing that Provokes

  • Awarded to the author(s) and/or illustrators of an original work of published writing (poetry, fiction or nonfiction for adults or children, including graphic novels or picture books) that challenges or provokes the ideas and forces that shape what writing, art, and/or society can become.

Supported by Bruce Smyth
Judges: Stephen Collis, Chelene Knight and Lydia Kwa


Rebent Sinner
by Ivan Coyote
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In Rebent Sinner, Ivan takes on the patriarchy and the political, as well as the intimate and the personal in these beguiling and revealing stories of what it means to be trans and non-binary today, at a time in their life when they must carry the burden of heartbreaking history with them, while combatting those who would misgender them or deny their very existence. These stories span thirty years of tackling TERFs, legislators, and bathroom police, sure, but there is joy and pleasure and triumph to be found here too, as Ivan pays homage to personal heroes like the late Leslie Feinberg while gently guiding younger trans folk to prove to themselves that there is a way out of the darkness.

This is the work of an accomplished artist whose plain truths about their experience will astound readers with their utter, breathtaking humanity.

AUTHOR BIO: Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author, co-author or co-editor of eleven books, including Tomboy Survival Guide, shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. They are also the creator of four short films as well as three CDs that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and an audience favourite at storytelling, literary, film, and folk music festivals. Ivan lives in Vancouver.

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ON/ME
by Francine Cunningham
Publisher: Caitlin Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Francine Cunningham lives with constant reminders that she doesn’t fit the desired expectations of the world: she is a white-passing, city-raised Indigenous woman with mental illness who has lost her mother. In her debut poetry collection ON/ME, Cunningham explores, with keen attention and poise, what it means to be forced to exist within the margins. Cunningham does not hold back: she holds a lens to residential schools, intergenerational trauma, Indigenous Peoples forcibly sent to sanatoriums, systemic racism and mental illness, and translates these topics into lived experiences that are nuanced, emotional, funny and heartbreaking all at once. ON/ME is an encyclopedia of Cunningham, who shares some of her most sacred moments with the hope to spark a conversation that needs to be had.

AUTHOR BIO: Francine Cunningham is a Canadian Indigenous writer, artist and educator. Her creative non-fiction has appeared in The Malahat Review, the anthologies Boobs: Women Explore What It Means to Have Breasts (Caitlin Press) and Best Canadian Essays 2017 (Tightrope Books), and was longlisted for the 2018 Edna Staebler Personal Essay. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Grain as the winner of the Short Grain Writing Contest in 2018, The Puritan, Joyland, Echolocation, The Maynard and more. She is a graduate of the UBC Creative Writing MFA program, winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for unpublished prose, winner of The Hnatyshyn Foundation’s REVEAL Indigenous Art Award, and a recipient of Telus’ 2017 STORYHIVE web series grant. On/Me is her first book.

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How She Read
by Chantal Gibson
Publisher: Caitlin Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: HOW SHE READ is a collection of genre-blurring poems about the representation of Black women, their hearts, minds and bodies, across the Canadian cultural imagination.

Drawing from grade-school vocabulary spellers, literature, history, art, media and pop culture, Chantal Gibson’s sassy semiotics highlight the depth and duration of the imperialist ideas embedded in everyday things, from storybooks to coloured pencils, from paintings to postage stamps.

A mediation on motherhood and daughterhood, belonging, loss and recovery, the collection WEAVES the voices of Black women, past and present. As Gibson DISMANTLES the grammar of her Queen Elizabeth English, sister scholars talk back, whisper, suck teeth, curse and carry on from canonized texts, photographs and art gallery walls, REINTERPRETING their image, RE-READING their bodies and CLAIMING their space in a white, hegemonic landscape.

Using genre-bending dialogue poems and ekphrasis, Gibson reveals the dehumanizing effects of mystifying and simplifying images of Blackness. Undoing the North Star freedom myth, Harriet Tubman and Viola Desmond shed light on the effects of erasure in the time of reconciliation and the dangers of squeezing the past into a Canada History Minute or a single postage stamp. Centrefolds Delia and Marie Therese discuss their naked Black bodies and what it means to be enslaved, a human subject of art and an object of science, while Veronica? tells it like it is, what it means to HANG with the Group of Seven on the walls of the Art Gallery of Ontario amongst the lakes, the glaciers, the mountains and the dying trees. Supported by the voices of Black women writers, the poems UNLOOSE the racist misogyny, myths, tropes and stereotypes women of colour continue to navigate every day.

Thoughtful, sassy, reflective and irreverent, HOW SHE READ leaves a Black mark on the landscape as it ILLUSTRATES a writer’s journey from passive receiver of racist ideology to active cultural critic in the process of decolonizing her mind.

AUTHOR BIO: Chantal Gibson is an artist-educator living in Vancouver with ancestral roots in Nova Scotia. Her visual art collection Historical In(ter)ventions, a series of altered history book sculptures, dismantles text to highlight language as a colonial mechanism of oppression. How She Read is another altered book, a genre-blurring extension of her artistic practice. Sculpting black text against a white page, her poems forge new spaces that challenge historic representations of Black womanhood and Otherness in the Canadian cultural imagination.

How She Read is Gibson’s debut book of poetry. Her work has been published in Room magazine and Making Room: 40 years of Room Magazine (Caitlin Press, 2017), and she was shortlisted for PRISM magazine’s 2017 Poetry Prize. An award-winning teacher, she teaches writing and visual communication in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University.

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Little Blue Encyclopedia (For Vivian)
by Hazel Jane Plante
Publisher: Metonymy Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: The playful and poignant novel Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) sifts through a queer trans woman’s unrequited love for her straight trans friend who died. A queer love letter steeped in desire, grief, and delight, the story is interspersed with encyclopedia entries about a fictional TV show set on an isolated island.

The experimental form functions at once as a manual for how pop culture can help soothe and mend us and as an exploration of oft-overlooked sources of pleasure, including karaoke, birding, and butt toys. Ultimately, Little Blue Encyclopedia (for Vivian) reveals with glorious detail and emotional nuance the woman the narrator loved, why she loved her, and the depths of what she has lost.

AUTHOR BIO: Hazel Jane Plante is a queer trans librarian, cat photographer, and writer. In a previous life, she co-founded a micro-press, co-edited a little literary journal, and co-hosted a podcast.

She currently lives in Vancouver on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

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Mistakes to Run With
by Yasuko Thanh
Publisher: Penguin Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Mistakes to Run With chronicles the turbulent life of Yasuko Thanh, from early childhood in the closest thing Victoria, BC, has to a slum to teen years as a sex worker and, finally, to her emergence as an award-winning author. As a child, Thanh embraced evangelical religion, only to rebel against it and her equally rigid parents, cutting herself, smoking, and shoplifting. At fifteen, the honour-roll runaway develops a taste for drugs and alcohol. After a stint in jail at sixteen, feeling utterly abandoned by her family, school, and society, Thanh meets the man who would become her pimp and falls in love.

The next chapter of her life takes Thanh to the streets of Vancouver, where she endures beatings, arrests, crack cocaine, and an unwanted pregnancy. The act of writing ultimately becomes a solace from her suffering. Leaving the sex trade, but refusing to settle on any one thing, Thanh forges a new life for herself, from dealing drugs in four languages to motherhood and a complicated marriage, and emerges as a successful writer.

But even as publication and awards bolster her, she remains haunted by her past.

AUTHOR BIO: Yasuko Thanh’s story collection Floating Like the Dead was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. One of its stories won an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Short Story. The title story won the Journey Prize for the best story published in Canada in 2009. Quill & Quire named Floating Like the Dead a Best Book of the Year. CBC hailed Yasuko Thanh one of ten writers to watch in 2013. Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, her debut novel, won the Rogers Writers’ Trust for Fiction, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize, and was nominated for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. She lives in Victoria, BC, with her two children. In her spare time she plays in a punk band called 12 Gauge Facial, for which she writes all the songs and music.

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Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

  • Awarded to the author(s) of the best original work of literary fiction.

Supported by Friesens Canada
Judges: Teresa James, Lucia Lorenzi and Rajha Ghazi Al-Hashmi


Lampedusa
by Steven Price
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In sun-drenched Sicily, among the decadent Italian aristocracy of the late 1950s, Giuseppe Tomasi, the last prince of Lampedusa, struggles to complete the novel that will be his lasting legacy, The Leopard. With a firm devotion to the historical record, Lampedusa leaps effortlessly into the mind of the writer and inhabits the complicated heart of a man facing down the end of his life, struggling to make something of lasting worth, while there is still time.

Achingly beautiful and elegantly conceived, Steven Price’s new novel is an intensely moving story of one man’s awakening to the possibilities of life, intimately woven against the transformative power of a great work of art.

AUTHOR BIO: STEVEN PRICE is the author of other two novels, By Gaslight (2016), longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and Into That Darkness (2011). Also an acclaimed poet, he has written two award-winning poetry books, Anatomy of Keys (2006), winner of the Gerald Lampert Award, and Omens in the Year of the Ox (2012), winner of the ReLit Award. He lives in Victoria, B.C.

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Greenwood
by Michael Christie
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart

BOOK DESCRIPTION: They come for the trees. It’s 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich-eco-tourists in one of the world’s last remaining forests. It’s 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall and facing the possibility of his own death. It’s 1974 and Willow Greenwood is just out of jail for one of her environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father’s once vast and rapacious timber empire. It’s 1934 and Everett Greenwood is a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant, only to find himself tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie’s effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival.

Transporting, beautifully written, and brilliantly structured like the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood reveals the knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family’s origin story. It is a magnificent novel of greed, sacrifice, love, and the ties that bind–and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.

AUTHOR BIO: MICHAEL CHRISTIE is the author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Kirkus Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was selected as a New York Times Editors Choice Pick, and a linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Globe & Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, he divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, where he lives with his family in a timber frame house that he built himself.

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Aria
by Nazanine Hozar
Publisher: Knopf Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: It is the early 1950s in a restless Iran, a country powerful with oil wealth but unsettled by class and religious divides and by a larger world hungry for its resources. One night, a humble driver in the Iranian army is walking home through a neighbourhood in Tehran when he hears a small, pitiful cry. Curious, he searches for the source, and to his horror comes upon a newborn baby girl abandoned by the side of the road and encircled by ravenous dogs. He snatches up the child, and forever alters his own destiny and that of the little girl, whom he names Aria.

Nazanine Hozar’s stunning debut takes us inside the Iranian revolution–but seen like never before, through the eyes of an orphan girl. Through Aria, we meet three very different women who are fated to mother the lost child: reckless and self-absorbed Zahra, wife of the kind-hearted soldier; wealthy and compassionate Fereshteh, who welcomes Aria into her home, adopting her as an heir; and finally, the mysterious, impoverished Mehri, whose connection to Aria is both a blessing and a burden. The novel’s heart-pounding conclusion takes us through the brutal revolution that installs the Ayatollah Khomeini as Iran’s supreme leader, even as Aria falls in love and becomes a young mother herself.

AUTHOR BIO: NAZANINE HOZAR was born in Tehran, Iran, and lives in British Columbia, Canada. Her fiction and non-fiction have been published in The Vancouver Observer and Prairie Fire magazine.

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Dual Citizens
by Alix Ohlin
Publisher: House of Anansi 

BOOK DESCRIPTION: All her life, Lark Brossard has felt invisible, overshadowed by the people around her: first by her temperamental mother, Marianne; then by her sister, Robin, a brilliantly talented pianist as wild as the animals she loves; and finally by Lawrence Wheelock, a renowned filmmaker who is both Lark’s employer and her occasional lover. When Wheelock denies her what she longs for most — a child — Lark is forced to re-examine a life marked by unrealized ambitions and thwarted desires. As she takes charge of her destiny, Lark comes to rely on Robin in ways she never could have imagined.

In this meditation on motherhood, sisterhood, desire, and self-knowledge, Alix Ohlin traces the rich and complex path towards fulfillment as an artist and a human being.

AUTHOR BIO: ALIX OHLIN is the author of four books, including the novels Inside, which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and Dual Citizens, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Tin House, Best American Short Stories, and many other publications. Born and raised in Montreal, she lives in Vancouver, where she chairs the creative writing program at the University of British Columbia.

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Rue des Rosiers
by Rhea Tregebov
Publisher: Coteau Books

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A young Canadian woman’s search for her own identity brings her to Paris in 1982, and face to face with the terror of an age-old enemy.

Sarah is the youngest of the three Levine sisters. At twenty-five, she is rudderless, caught in a paralysis which keeps her from seizing her own life. 

When Sarah is fired from her Toronto job, a chance stay in Paris opens her up to new direction and purpose. 

But when she reads the writing on the wall above her local Métro subway station, death to the Jews, shadows from childhood rise again. And as her path crosses that of Laila, a young woman living in an exile remote from the luxuries of 1980s Paris, Sarah stumbles towards to an act of terrorism that may realize her childhood fears. 

In this new novel by the author of The Knife Sharpener’s Bell, writing that is both sensual and taut creates a tightly woven, compelling narrative.

AUTHOR BIO: RHEA TREGEBOV was born in Saskatoon and raised in Winnipeg, where she received her undergraduate education. She did postgraduate studies at Cornell and Boston Universities. For many years she worked as a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, where she also taught creative writing for Ryerson Continuing Education. She is now Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia, where she teaches poetry and translation.

Tregebov is the author of six critically acclaimed books of poetry, most recently (alive): New and selected poems (Wolsak & Wynn, 2004). She has also published five popular children’s picture books including The Big Storm and What-If Sara, which are set in Winnipeg. She has edited ten anthologies of essays, poetry and fiction, most recently Arguing with the Storm. Her work has received a number of literary prizes, including the Tiny Torgi award (for The Big Storm) as well as the Pat Lowther Award, Prairie Schooner Readers’ Choice Award, and the Malahat Review Long Poem Award for her poetry.

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Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

  • Awarded to the author(s) of the best original work of literary non-fiction.

Supported by Marquis
Judges: Hannah McGregor, Nicole McDonald and Denise Ellis


Changing Tides: An Ecologist’s Journey to Make Peace with the Anthropocene
by Alejandro Frid
Publisher: New Society

BOOK DESCRIPTION: As humanity marches on, causing mass extinctions and destabilizing the climate, the future of Earth will very much reflect the stories that Homo sapiens decides to jettison or accept today into our collective identity. At this pivotal moment in history, the most important story we can be telling ourselves is that humans are not inherently destructive.

In Changing Tides, Alejandro Frid tackles the big questions: who, or what, represents our essential selves, and what stories might allow us to shift the collective psyche of industrial civilization in time to avert the worst of the climate and biodiversity crises?

In seeking the answers, Frid draws from a deep well of personal experience and that of Indigenous colleagues, finding a glimmer of hope in Indigenous cultures that, despite the ravishes of colonialism, have for thousands of years developed intentional and socially complex practices for resource management that epitomize sustainability. Ultimately, Frid argues, merging scientific perspectives with Indigenous knowledge might just help us change the story we tell ourselves about who we are and where we could go.

Changing Tides is for everyone concerned with the irrevocable changes we have unleashed upon our planet and how we might steer towards a more benign Anthropocene.

AUTHOR BIO: Alejandro Frid, Ph.D., an ecologist for First Nations of British Columbia’s Central Coast and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria, has for over two decades inhabited the worlds of science, modern Indigenous cultures, and climate activism. He lives on Bowen Island, British Columbia.

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Rebent Sinner
by Ivan Coyote
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In Rebent Sinner, Ivan takes on the patriarchy and the political, as well as the intimate and the personal in these beguiling and revealing stories of what it means to be trans and non-binary today, at a time in their life when they must carry the burden of heartbreaking history with them, while combatting those who would misgender them or deny their very existence. These stories span thirty years of tackling TERFs, legislators, and bathroom police, sure, but there is joy and pleasure and triumph to be found here too, as Ivan pays homage to personal heroes like the late Leslie Feinberg while gently guiding younger trans folk to prove to themselves that there is a way out of the darkness.

This is the work of an accomplished artist whose plain truths about their experience will astound readers with their utter, breathtaking humanity.

AUTHOR BIO: Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author, co-author or co-editor of eleven books, including Tomboy Survival Guide, shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. They are also the creator of four short films as well as three CDs that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and an audience favourite at storytelling, literary, film, and folk music festivals. Ivan lives in Vancouver.

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In My Own Moccasins: A Memoir of Resilience
by Helen Knott
Publisher: University of Regina Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In My Own Moccasins is an unflinching account of addiction, intergenerational trauma, and the wounds brought on by sexual violence. It is also the story of sisterhood, the power of ceremony, the love of family, and the possibility of redemption.

With gripping moments of withdrawal, times of spiritual awareness, and historical insights going back to the signing of Treaty 8 by her great-great grandfather, Chief Bigfoot, her journey exposes the legacy of colonialism, while reclaiming her spirit.

AUTHOR BIO: Helen is a Dane Zaa, Nehiyaw, and mixed Euro-descent woman living in Northeastern BC. In 2016 Helen was a global change-maker featured by the Nobel Women’s Initiative for being committed to ending gender-based violence. Helen was selected as a 2019 RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Author.

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Claws of the Panda: Beijing’s Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada
by Jonathan Manthorpe
Publisher: Cormorant Books

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Claws of the Panda tells the story of Canada’s failure to construct a workable policy towards the People’s Republic of China. In particular the book tells of Ottawa’s failure to recognize and confront the efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate and influence Canadian politics, academia, and media, and to exert control over Canadians of Chinese heritage. Claws of the Panda gives a detailed description of the CCP’s campaign to embed agents of influence in Canadian business, politics, media and academia.

The party’s aims are to be able to turn Canadian public policy to China’s advantage, to acquire useful technology and intellectual property, to influence Canada’s international diplomacy, and, most important, to be able to monitor and intimidate Chinese Canadians and others it considers dissidents. The book traces the evolution of the Canada-China relationship over nearly 150 years. It shows how Canadian leaders have constantly misjudged the reality and potential of the relationship while the CCP and its agents have benefited from Canadian naivete.

AUTHOR BIO: Jonathan Manthorpe is the author of three books on international relations, politics, and history. Over his forty-year career as a journalist, he has been the foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa, and Europe for Southam News, the European Bureau Chief for the Toronto Star, and the national political reporter for The Globe and Mail. For the last few years, he has been based in Victoria, British Columbia.

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Highway of Tears: A True Story of Racism, Indifference, and the Pursuit of Justice for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls 
by Jessica McDiarmid
Publisher: Doubleday Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: For decades, Indigenous women and girls have gone missing or been found murdered along an isolated stretch of highway in northwestern British Columbia. The highway is known as the Highway of Tears, and it has come to symbolize a national crisis.

Journalist Jessica McDiarmid investigates the devastating effect these tragedies have had on the families of the victims and their communities, and how systemic racism and indifference have created a climate where Indigenous women and girls are over-policed, yet under-protected. Through interviews with those closest to the victims—mothers and fathers, siblings and friends—McDiarmid offers an intimate, first-hand account of their loss and relentless fight for justice. Examining the historically fraught social and cultural tensions between settlers and Indigenous peoples in the region, McDiarmid links these cases to others across Canada—now estimated to number up to 4,000—contextualizing them within a broader examination of the undervaluing of Indigenous lives in this country.

Highway of Tears is a powerful story about our ongoing failure to provide justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and a testament to their families and communities’ unwavering determination to find it.

AUTHOR BIO: JESSICA McDIARMID is a Canadian journalist who has worked across North America and Africa. She has written for numerous publications and worked for Journalists for Human Rights. McDiarmid grew up along the Highway of Tears and currently lives in British Columbia. This is her first book.

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Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

  • Awarded to the author(s) of the best work of poetry.

Supported by International Web ExPress and an anonymous donor
Judges: Billy-Ray Belcourt, Onjana Yawnghwe and Laisha Rosnau


How She Read
by Chantal Gibson
Publisher: Caitlin Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: HOW SHE READ is a collection of genre-blurring poems about the representation of Black women, their hearts, minds and bodies, across the Canadian cultural imagination.

Drawing from grade-school vocabulary spellers, literature, history, art, media and pop culture, Chantal Gibson’s sassy semiotics highlight the depth and duration of the imperialist ideas embedded in everyday things, from storybooks to coloured pencils, from paintings to postage stamps.

A mediation on motherhood and daughterhood, belonging, loss and recovery, the collection WEAVES the voices of Black women, past and present. As Gibson DISMANTLES the grammar of her Queen Elizabeth English, sister scholars talk back, whisper, suck teeth, curse and carry on from canonized texts, photographs and art gallery walls, REINTERPRETING their image, RE-READING their bodies and CLAIMING their space in a white, hegemonic landscape.

Using genre-bending dialogue poems and ekphrasis, Gibson reveals the dehumanizing effects of mystifying and simplifying images of Blackness. Undoing the North Star freedom myth, Harriet Tubman and Viola Desmond shed light on the effects of erasure in the time of reconciliation and the dangers of squeezing the past into a Canada History Minute or a single postage stamp. Centrefolds Delia and Marie Therese discuss their naked Black bodies and what it means to be enslaved, a human subject of art and an object of science, while Veronica? tells it like it is, what it means to HANG with the Group of Seven on the walls of the Art Gallery of Ontario amongst the lakes, the glaciers, the mountains and the dying trees. Supported by the voices of Black women writers, the poems UNLOOSE the racist misogyny, myths, tropes and stereotypes women of colour continue to navigate every day.

Thoughtful, sassy, reflective and irreverent, HOW SHE READ leaves a Black mark on the landscape as it ILLUSTRATES a writer’s journey from passive receiver of racist ideology to active cultural critic in the process of decolonizing her mind.

AUTHOR BIO: Chantal Gibson is an artist-educator living in Vancouver with ancestral roots in Nova Scotia. Her visual art collection Historical In(ter)ventions, a series of altered history book sculptures, dismantles text to highlight language as a colonial mechanism of oppression. How She Read is another altered book, a genre-blurring extension of her artistic practice. Sculpting black text against a white page, her poems forge new spaces that challenge historic representations of Black womanhood and Otherness in the Canadian cultural imagination.

How She Read is Gibson’s debut book of poetry. Her work has been published in Room magazine and Making Room: 40 years of Room Magazine (Caitlin Press, 2017), and she was shortlisted for PRISM magazine’s 2017 Poetry Prize. An award-winning teacher, she teaches writing and visual communication in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at Simon Fraser University.

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Hymnswitch
by Ali Blythe
Publisher: Goose Lane

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Four years ago, Ali Blythe arrived with Twoism, a remarkable debut collection, every line shimmering with life and shivering with erotically charged glimpses of completeness. Now in Hymnswitch, Blythe takes up the themes of identity and the body once again, this time casting an eye backwards and forwards, visiting places of recovery and wrestling with the transition into one’s own skin. Readers will find themselves holding their breath at the risk and beauty and difficulty of the balance Blythe strikes in the midst of ineffable complexity.

Combining a stark, tensile precision with musicality that lulls and surprises, Blythe, a surreal engineer of language, has once again created an unusually memorable collection. Imbued with emotional awareness, these stunning poems will imprint readers with startling images and silences as potent as words.

AUTHOR BIO: Ali Blythe’s first book of poems, Twoism, was released by icehouse poetry to critical acclaim in 2015. He is the winner of the Vallum Award for Poetry, a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and the recipient of an honour of distinction from the Writers Trust of Canada for emerging LGBTQ writers. Blythe’s poems have been published in literary journals and anthologies in Canada, Germany, Slovenia, and England. Blythe is also editor-in-chief of the Claremont Review, an international art and writing magazine for youth. He lives in Victoria.

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Dunk Tank
by Kayla Czaga
Publisher: House of Anansi

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In the title poem of Kayla Czaga’s sophomore collection, a teenage speaker is suspended between knowledge and experience, confidently hovering there before the world plunges her into adult life. Dunk Tank reimagines the body as a strange and unknowable landscape: full of cancers that “burst like blackberries,” a butt that could run for prime minister of Canada, and the underworld lurking in Winona Ryder’s pores. Clouds become testicles and uteri turn into goldfish, flickering and fragile, but still ultimately glowing.

These poems explore the varied and strange relationships that underpin a young woman’s coming of age, from inconsequential boyfriends to the friendships that rescue us from “grey daily moments.” Unsure of how the world works and her part in it, Czaga forges a landscape of metaphor and gleaming, dense imagery. Dunk Tank is playful and dark, comic and disturbing.

AUTHOR BIO: KAYLA CZAGA is the author of one previous collection of poems, For Your Safety Please Hold On (Nightwood Editions, 2014), and the chapbook Enemy of the People (Anstruther Press, 2015). Her work has been awarded the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Canadian Authors Association’s Emerging Writer Award and has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, and the Debut-litzer. She lives in Victoria, B.C.

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SH:LAM (The Doctor)
by Joseph A Dandurand
Publisher: Mawenzi House Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In this volume of poetry, Joseph A Dandurand lives the experiences of an Aboriginal people brought to the edge of extinction.

“The poems in this collection tell the truth of what has happened to my people. The Kwantlen people used to number in the thousands, but 80% of our people were wiped out by smallpox and now there are only 200 of us…I believe the gift of words was given to me so I can tell our stories…The poems gathered here tell the tale of a Kwantlen man who has been given the gift of healing but also is a heroin addict living on the east side.

“This is a book of hope, loss, and redemption for all the poor souls who find themselves on the street and lost from where they truly come.”

AUTHOR BIO: Joseph A Dandurand is a Kwantlen Aboriginal from Kwantlen First Nation in British Columbia. He is a poet, playwright, and archaeologist. Dandurand received a Diploma in Performing Arts from Algonquin College and studied Theatre and Direction at the University of Ottawa. He has previously published I Want (2015), Hear and Foretell (2015), and The Rumour (2018).

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Sonnet’s Shakespeare
by Sonnet L’Abbé
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart

BOOK DESCRIPTION: How can poetry grapple with how some cultures assume the place of others? How can English-speaking writers use the English language to challenge the legacy of colonial literary values? In Sonnet’s Shakespeare, one young, half-dougla (mixed South Asian and Black) poet tries to use “the master’s tools” on the Bard’s “house,” attempting to dismantle his monumental place in her pysche and in the poetic canon.

In a defiant act of literary patricide and a feat of painstaking poetic labour, Sonnet L’Abbé works with the pages of Shakespeare’s sonnets as a space she will inhabit, as a place of power she will occupy. Letter by letter, she sits her own language down into the white spaces of Shakespeare’s poems, until she overwhelms the original text and effectively erases Shakespeare’s voice by subsuming his words into hers. In each of the 154 dense new poems of Sonnet’s Shakespeare sits one “aggrocultured” Shakespearean sonnet–displaced, spoken over, but never entirely silenced.

L’Abbé invented the process of Sonnet’s Shakespeare to find a way to sing from a body that knows both oppression and privilege. She uses the procedural techniques of Oulipian constraint and erasure poetries to harness the raw energies of her hyperconfessional, trauma-forged lyric voice. This is an artist’s magnum opus and mixed-race girlboy’s diary; the voice of a settler on stolen Indigenous territories, a sexual assault survivor, a lover of Sylvia Plath and Public Enemy. Touching on such themes as gender identity, pop music, nationhood, video games, and the search for interracial love, this book is a poetic achievement of undeniable scope and significance.

AUTHOR BIO: Sonnet L’Abbé is the author of two previous collections of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, and, most recently, the chapbook Anima Canadensis. In 2000, she won the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award for most promising writer under 35. In 2014, she was the guest editor of Best Canadian Poetry in English. Her work has been internationally published and anthologized. L’Abbé lives on Vancouver Island and is a professor of creative writing at Vancouver Island University.

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Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

  • Awarded to the author(s) of the book which contributes the most to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia and Yukon. The book must be original and may deal with any aspect of the province and territory.

Supported by Anonymous
Judges: Erika Thorkelson, Sandra Michaels and David Pitt-Brooke


Carpe Fin: A Haida Manga
by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Publisher: Douglas and McIntyre

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In a small near-future community perched between the ocean and the northern temperate rainforest, a series of disasters is taking a heavy toll. It is early fall and a fuel spill has contaminated the marine foods the village was preparing to harvest. As food supplies dwindle, a small group decides to make a late season expedition to search for sea lions. Surprised by a ferocious storm, they abandon one man, Carpe, on an isolated rock at sea. After ten days they are finally able to return, but he has vanished. The story follows Carpe’s encounters with the Lord of the Rock, who demands retribution for Carpe’s role in the hunt, and Carpe’s fate in the half-life between human and animal, life and death.

AUTHOR BIO: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas challenges native stereotypes through illustrative story telling. The stories of the trickster Raven, as told by Yahgulanaas, are what most people would call comics, and they are fun, humorous and sometimes rude. Yahgulanaas takes traditional Haida stories and turns them into manga (Japanese-style comics). He has dropped the traditional rectangular boxes and voice balloons associated with the North American comics of Marvel and DC. Instead, he has developed a flowing style that uses a bold line stretched almost to the breaking point – a motif strongly associated with Haida art – to link the images in the narrative.

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Greenwood
by Michael Christie
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart

BOOK DESCRIPTION: They come for the trees. It’s 2038 and Jacinda (Jake) Greenwood is a storyteller and a liar, an overqualified tour guide babysitting ultra-rich-eco-tourists in one of the world’s last remaining forests. It’s 2008 and Liam Greenwood is a carpenter, sprawled on his back after a workplace fall and facing the possibility of his own death. It’s 1974 and Willow Greenwood is just out of jail for one of her environmental protests: attempts at atonement for the sins of her father’s once vast and rapacious timber empire. It’s 1934 and Everett Greenwood is a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant, only to find himself tangled up in the web of a crime, secrets, and betrayal that will cling to his family for decades. And throughout, there are trees: a steady, silent pulse thrumming beneath Christie’s effortless sentences, working as a guiding metaphor for withering, weathering, and survival.

Transporting, beautifully written, and brilliantly structured like the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood reveals the knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family’s origin story. It is a magnificent novel of greed, sacrifice, love, and the ties that bind–and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.

AUTHOR BIO: MICHAEL CHRISTIE is the author of the novel If I Fall, If I Die, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Kirkus Prize, and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and was selected as a New York Times Editors Choice Pick, and a linked collection of stories, The Beggar’s Garden, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and won the City of Vancouver Book Award. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Globe & Mail. A former carpenter and homeless-shelter worker, he divides his time between Victoria and Galiano Island, where he lives with his family in a timber frame house that he built himself.

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The Great Bear Rainforest: A Giant-Screen Adventure in the Land of the Spirit Bear
by Ian McAllister and Alex Von Tol
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In the northwest corner of British Columbia, between the Alaska–BC border and the northern tip of Vancouver Island, lies a land of forest green and sparkling blue. From massive whales to tiny herring, spirit bears to sea wolves, an incredibly diverse array of wildlife calls this land home. Part of the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world, the Great Bear Rainforest is one the last untouched places on Earth.

Experience this magical place through the power of IMAX® and the giant screen. Learn about the people who make their home in the Great Bear Rainforest and are committed to preserving and protecting it. Hear how Indigenous youth are coming together and taking responsibility for this place they call home. Go behind the scenes of the production of the film to learn about the incredible challenges of filming in such difficult conditions and feel the wonder that comes from experiencing this wild place.

AUTHOR BIOS: Ian McAllister is an award-winning photographer and author of numerous books. Ian directed the 2019 IMAX film Great Bear Rainforest and co-wrote the film’s tie-in book, Great Bear Rainforest: A Giant Screen Adventure in the Land of the Spirit Bear. A recipient of the North American Nature Photography Association’s Vision Award and the Rainforest Action Network’s Rainforest Hero Award, he and his wife, Karen, were named by Time magazine “Leaders of the 21st Century” for their efforts to protect British Columbia’s endangered rainforest. The founding director of Pacific Wild, a Canadian nonprofit wildlife-conservation group, Ian lives with his family in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Alex Van Tol grew up reading a wide range of books, from Enid Blyton to Stephen King. She taught middle school for eight years, then made the switch to writing for a living. She has published numerous titles with Orca. Alex lives in Victoria, British Columbia, with her family. For more information, visit www.alexvantol.com.

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A Year on the Wild Side: A West Coast Naturalist’s Almanac
by Briony Penn
Publisher: Touchwood Editions

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A Year on the Wild Side is a witty commentary on the social and natural history of Vancouver Island. Composed of short, readable essays arranged into 12 monthly chapters, this engaging book reveals the magic and humour of the natural world and reminds us of our place within it.

As the weeks and seasons unfold with the turning of the pages, you’ll be in sync with the living world that surrounds you. Discover what berries are ripe and the best time to pick them. Learn why the termites swarm, where the herring spawn, and when the maple leaves fall. Get up close and personal with fascinating creatures like the snowy owl, the giant Pacific octopus, the river otter, and more.

The West Coast is abundantly alive, and A Year on the Wild Side invites you to indulge in unforgettable experiences, week by week, all year long.

AUTHOR BIO: Briony Penn is an award-winning writer of creative non-fiction books as well as a contributor to many anthologies and chapter books. She has been a feature writer and columnist for decades, with over five hundred articles on environmental issues and natural history in newspapers, magazines, government publications, online news sources and peer-reviewed journals. She has also written numerous environmental guides and educational handbooks for teachers in British Columbia. Her first book with RMB, The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan, was the winner of the 2015 BC Book Prize. Her work with Cecil Paul will continue with the publication of a comprehensive and collaborative biography, Following the Good River: Stories from the Magic Canoe of Cecil Paul, which will be published by RMB in the autumn of 2019. Briony lives on Salt Spring Island, BC.

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At the Bridge: James Teit and An Anthropology of Belonging
by Wendy Wickwire
Publisher: UBC Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Every once in a while, an important historical figure makes an appearance, makes a difference, and then disappears from the public record. James Teit (1864–1922) was such a figure. A prolific ethnographer and tireless Indian rights activist, Teit spent four decades helping British Columbia’s Indigenous peoples in their challenge of the settler-colonial assault on their lives and territories. Yet his story is little known.

At the Bridge chronicles Teit’s fascinating story. From his base at Spences Bridge, British Columbia, Teit practised a participant- and place-based anthropology – an anthropology of belonging – that covered much of BC and northern Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Montana. Whereas his contemporaries, including famed anthropologist Franz Boas, studied Indigenous peoples as the last survivors of “dying cultures” in need of preservation in metropolitan museums, Teit worked with them as members of living cultures actively asserting jurisdiction over their lives and lands. Whether recording stories and songs, mapping place-names, or participating in the chiefs’ fight for fair treatment, he made their objectives his own. With his allies, he produced copious, meticulous records; an army of anthropologists could not have achieved a fraction of what Teit achieved in his short life.

AUTHOR BIO: Wendy Wickwire, a professor emerita in the Department of History at the University of Victoria, is the author of numerous award-winning books and articles. Her first book, Stein: The Way of the River (with Michael M’Gonigle), won the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award at the 1989 BC Book Awards. Her next book, Write It On Your Heart: The Epic World of an Okanagan Storyteller (with Okanagan storyteller, Harry Robinson) was short-listed for the Roderick Haig-Brown book prize in 1990. Her third book, Nature Power: In the Spirit of an Okanagan Storyteller (with Harry Robinson), won the Roderick Haig-Brown book prize in 1994. She completed the Harry Robinson trilogy in 2005 with the publication (by Talonbooks) of Living By Stories: A Journey of Landscape and Memory. In 2006, Wickwire and Michael M’Gonigle co-edited a Canadian war diary: Marion Kelsey, Victory Harvest: Diary of a Canadian in the Women’s Land Army, 1940-1944 (McGill-Queens U Press).

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Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize

  • Awarded to the author(s) of literary books, including novels, chapter books, and non-fiction books, aimed at juveniles and young adults, which have not been highly illustrated.

Supported by the Friends of Sheila Egoff
Judges: Maggie De Vries, Susin Nielsen and Sharon Freeman


My Body, My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights
by Robin Stevenson
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Abortion is one of the most common of all medical procedures. But it is still stigmatized,  and all too often people do not feel they can talk about their experiences.

Making abortion illegal or hard to access doesn’t make it any less common; it just makes it dangerous. Around the world, tens of thousands of women die from unsafe abortions every year.

People who support abortion rights have been fighting hard to create a world in which the right to access safe and legal abortion services is guaranteed. The opposition to this has been intense and sometimes violent, and victories have been hard won.

The long fight for abortion rights is being picked up by a new generation of courageous, creative and passionate activists. This book is about the history, and the future, of that fight.

AUTHOR BIO: Robin Stevenson is the author of more than twenty-five books for kids and teens, including The Summer We Saved the Bees and Pride Colors. The first edition of her nonfiction book Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community (2016) won a Stonewall Honor and was shortlisted for numerous other awards. Robin lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

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Nevers
by Sara Cassidy
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Resourceful fourteen-year-old Odette is on the move again, traveling as a stowaway on a cheese cart with her hapless mother, Anneline. They are in Burgundy, France, in 1799, fleeing yet another calamity caused by Anneline (who is prone to killing people accidentally). At dawn they find themselves in a town called Nevers, which is filled with eccentric characters, including a man who obsessively smells hands, another who dreams of becoming a chicken and a donkey that keeps the town awake at night, braying about his narrow life. As Odette establishes a home in an abandoned guardhouse, she makes a friend in the relaxed Nicois and finds work as a midwife’s assistant. She and Nicois uncover a mystery that may lead to riches and, more important for Odette, a sense of belonging.

AUTHOR BIO: Sara Cassidy’s books have been short-listed for many awards, including the Chocolate Lily Award for both Black Gold and Blackberry Juice, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award for A Boy Named Queen and the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize for Skylark. Additionally, both A Boy Named Queen and Double Play were Junior Library Guild selections. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction for adults have been widely published. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

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The Love and Lies Of Rukhsana Ali
by Sabina Khan
Publisher: Scholastic

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that impossible to do. She rolls her eyes when they blatantly favor her brother and saves her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart.

Her parents are devastated and decide to whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Through reading her grandmother’s old diary, Rukhsana gains some much-needed perspective and realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love without losing the connection to her family as a consequence.

AUTHOR BIO: SABINA KHAN writes about Muslim teens who straddle cultures. She was born in Germany, spent her teens in Bangladesh, and lived in Macao, Illinois, and Texas before settling down in British Columbia with her husband, two daughters, and the best puppy in the world. Visit her online at www.sabina-khan.com.

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Mystery of Black Hollow Lane
by Julia Nobel
Publisher: Sourcebooks

BOOK DESCRIPTION: With a dad who disappeared years ago and a mother who’s a bit too busy to parent, Emmy is shipped off to Wellsworth, a prestigious boarding school in England, where she’s sure she won’t fit in.

But then she finds a box of mysterious medallions in the attic of her home—medallions that belonged to her father. Her father who may have gone to Wellsworth.

When she arrives at school, she finds the strange symbols from the medallions etched into walls and books, which leads Emmy and her new friends, Jack and Lola, to Wellsworth’s secret society: The Order of Black Hollow Lane. Emmy can’t help but think that the society had something to do with her dad’s disappearance, and that there may be more than just dark secrets in the halls of Wellsworth…

AUTHOR BIO: Julia Nobel is a teacher and lives in a small town on Vancouver Island. The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane is her debut novel and the first title in a middle grade series.

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What the Eagle Sees
by Eldon Yellowhorn and Kathy Lowinger
Publisher: Annick Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: What do people do when their civilization is invaded? Indigenous people have been faced with disease, war, broken promises, and forced assimilation. Despite crushing losses and insurmountable challenges, they formed new nations from the remnants of old ones, they adopted new ideas and built on them, they fought back, and they kept their cultures alive.

When the only possible “victory” was survival, they survived.

In this brilliant follow up to Turtle Island, esteemed academic Eldon Yellowhorn and award-winning author Kathy Lowinger team up again, this time to tell the stories of what Indigenous people did when invaders arrived on their homelands. What the Eagle Sees shares accounts of the people, places, and events that have mattered in Indigenous history from a vastly under-represented perspective—an Indigenous viewpoint.

AUTHOR BIOS:

Eldon Yellowhorn (Piikani Nation) is a professor of First Nations Studies and archeology at Simon Fraser University. He and Kathy Lowinger wrote the critically-acclaimed Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People (2017).

Kathy Lowinger is an award-winning author whose books include Give Me Wings! How a Choir of Former Slaves Took on the World (2015), and Turtle Island: The Story of North America’s First People (2017).

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Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

  • Awarded to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of picture books, picture story books, graphic novels, and illustrated non-fiction books for children. The prize is shared by the author(s) and illustrator(s).

Supported by Teresa James
Judges: Ian Boothby, Vi Hughes and Yukiko Tosa


It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
by Kyo Maclear
Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Publisher: Tundra Books

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Growing up quiet and lonely at the beginning of the twentieth century, Gyo learned from her relatives the ways in which both women and Japanese people lacked opportunity. Her teachers and family believed in her and sent her to art school and later Japan, where her talent flourished. But while Gyo’s career grew and led her to work for Walt Disney Studios, World War II began, and with it, her family’s internment. But Gyo never stopped fighting — for herself, her vision, her family and her readers — and later wrote and illustrated the first children’s book to feature children of different races interacting together.

This luminous new book beautifully and openly touches on Gyo’s difficult experiences and growth. Through Julie Morstad’s exquisite illustrations, alternating between striking black-and-white linework and lush colour, and Kyo Maclear’s artful and accessible writing, the story of this cherished figure is told at last.

AUTHOR BIO

KYO MACLEAR is a novelist, essayist and children’s author. She was born in London, England, and moved to Toronto at the age of four. Kyo holds an Honors B.A. in Fine Art and Art History and an M.A. in Cultural Studies from the University of Toronto, and is currently a doctoral student at York University, where she holds a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. She is the author of two acclaimed novels for adults, The Letter Opener and Stray Love, and numerous beloved books for children, including Julia, Child and The Good Little Book. Kyo lives in Toronto where she shares a home with two sons, two cats, a musician and a truckload of books.

JULIE MORSTAD is an author, illustrator, and artist living in Vancouver. Her books have all received great acclaim; most recently, How To was a 2013 Governor General’s Award finalist and received starred reviews in Kirkus Reviews and School Library Journal.

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Bad Boys of Fashion: Style Rebels and Renegades Through the Ages
by Jen Croll
Illustrated by Aneta Pacholska
Publisher: Annick Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Sashay away, ladies: it’s the boys’ turn for the fashion spotlight. From Louis XIV to Kanye West, Jennifer Croll takes us on a tour of daring and different men throughout history who have all used fashion to get what they want. Just as she did in her award-winning Bad Girls of Fashion, Croll shows us the power of clothes and the links between fashion and politics, art, social movements, and more.

Croll’s lively and engaging prose draws in the reader, providing enough information to satisfy both budding fashionistas and pop-culture junkies alike. Aneta Pacholska’s illustrations are modern and fun, perfectly complementing the text and making the book as exciting to look at as it is to read.

In-depth features include Louis XIV, Oscar Wilde, Marlon Brando, Malcolm X, Andy Warhol, Karl Lagerfeld, Clyde Frazier, Malcolm McLaren, David Bowie, and Kanye West, with a diverse array of shorter biographies enriching the text.

AUTHOR BIO: Jennifer Croll is the author of Fashion That Changed the World and has written for magazines including NYLON, Adbusters, and Dazed and Confused. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Aneta Pacholska is originally from Poland. Now based in Toronto, Aneta loves engaging with people, culture and music—all of which continually inspire her art.

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Birdsong
by Julie Flett (author and illustrator)
Publisher: Greystone Kids

BOOK DESCRIPTION: When a young girl moves from the country to a small town, she feels lonely and out of place. But soon she meets an elderly woman next door, who shares her love of arts and crafts. Can the girl navigate the changing seasons and failing health of her new friend? Acclaimed author and artist Julie Flett’s textured images of birds, flowers, art, and landscapes bring vibrancy and warmth to this powerful story, which highlights the fulfillment of intergenerational relationships and shared passions.

A brief glossary and pronunciation guide to Cree-Métis words that appear in the text is provided on the copyright page.

AUTHOR BIO: Julie Flett, a Cree-Métis author, illustrator, and artist, has received numerous awards for her books, including an esteemed Governor General’s Award and the American Indian Library Association Award. Her work has been reviewed widely, including in the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, and Publishers Weekly.

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The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden
by Heather Smith
Illustrated by Rachel Wada
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION: When the tsunami destroyed Makio’s village, Makio lost his father . . . and his voice. The entire village is silenced by grief, and the young child’s anger at the ocean grows. Then one day his neighbor, Mr. Hirota, begins a mysterious project—building a phone booth in his garden. At first Makio is puzzled; the phone isn’t connected to anything. It just sits there, unable to ring. But as more and more villagers are drawn to the phone booth, its purpose becomes clear to Makio: the disconnected phone is connecting people to their lost loved ones. Makio calls to the sea to return what it has taken from him and ultimately finds his voice and solace in a phone that carries words on the wind.

The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota’s Garden is inspired by the true story of the wind phone in Otsuchi, Japan, which was created by artist Itaru Sasaki. He built the phone booth so he could speak to his cousin who had passed, saying, “My thoughts couldn’t be relayed over a regular phone line, I wanted them to be carried on the wind.” The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the town of Otsuchi, claiming 10 percent of the population. Residents of Otsuchi and pilgrims from other affected communities have been traveling to the wind phone since the tsunami.

AUTHOR BIO: Rachel Wada is a freelance illustrator whose work is defined by heavy texture, bold color and intricate details that capture the nuances of people, places and ideas, real and surreal. Rachel’s identity as Japanese-Cantonese, an immigrant and a woman informs her artistic practice. She loves to put her own spin on traditional techniques, motifs and symbolism inspired by her cultural background. This duality of old and new is also apparent in her use of both traditional and digital mediums, and she draws inspiration from a variety of sources, from Japanese woodblock prints, Chinese pottery and ceramics, food packaging design to traditional folk art. She has a special love for the ocean, tea and noodles of all kinds. Rachel lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information, visit rachelwada.com.

Heather Smith is originally from Newfoundland. She now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, with her family. Her Newfoundland roots inspire much of her writing. Her middle-grade novel Ebb and Flow was short-listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award, and her YA novel The Agony of Bun O’Keefe won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award and was short-listed for the Amy Mathers Teen Book Award and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. For more information, visit heathertsmith.com.

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The Ranger
by Nancy Vo (author and illustrator)
Publisher: Groundwood Books

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In this memorable and beautifully illustrated story, a ranger comes across a fox caught in a trap. The ranger frees the fox and promises only to tend to its wounds. The fox recovers and remains curiously close to the ranger, and when unexpected twists occur, the fox ends up being the helper. The ranger asks the fox, “Does this make us even?” and almost immediately feels regret – keeping score has no place in friendship. And so the two continue their journey together.

In this second book in the Crow Stories trilogy, Nancy Vo explores themes of friendship and how meaningful bonds form when we can give and receive openly. Vo’s stunning, spare illustrations are a delight, and complement the journey of these two nuanced characters toward understanding and companionship.

AUTHOR BIO: Nancy Vo was born in the prairies and ranged to the West Coast. As a child, she enjoyed stories featuring brave characters, but later realized a truth about herself: she was far less adventuresome and liked her creature comforts. So by day, she works as a facility planner. At ungodly hours in the night, she gets to draw characters who have grit. She enjoys good coffee and bad puns. She is the author and illustrator of The Outlaw and now The Ranger, the first two books in the Crow Stories trilogy. Nancy lives in Vancouver.

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Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award

  • Presented to the originating publisher(s) and the author(s) of the book that is the most successful in terms of public appeal, initiative, design, production and content. The prize is shared by the publisher(s) and the author(s). B.C./Yukon booksellers determine the winner by ballot vote.

Supported by the BC Booksellers Association and the Western Book Reps Association
Judged by members of the BC Booksellers’ Association


Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife
by Aaron Chapman
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In his latest book, bestselling author, musician, and cultural historian Aaron Chapman looks back at the most famous music entertainment venues in Vancouver, a city that’s transforming so fast it has somehow lost some of its favourite nightspots along the way. These are the places locals are still talking about years after they closed, burned down, or were bulldozed in the face of new trends, rising rents, gentrification, and other vagaries. This raucous book tours Vancouver’s legendary hot spots, from the Cave to Isy’s, Oil Can Harry’s to the Marco Polo, the Luv-A-Fair, the Town Pump, the Smilin’ Buddha, and Gary Taylor’s Rock Room, from the city’s earliest saloons to the Chinatown cabarets, punk palaces, East End dives, goth hideaways, discotheques, and taverns. Archival posters and photos, many published for the first time, chronicle how the city’s nightlife changed with times, and how some of these nightspots ushered in changes to Vancouver. Are the great days of Vancouver’s nightlife behind us? Or does it endure in new side streets and new spaces and new forms that have resisted the changes in other parts of the city? Now’s the time to look back at the nightspots that shaped Vancouver, and how its residents shaped those venues.

Replete with full-colour photographs and posters from back in the day, Vancouver after Dark is a no-holds-barred history that amply demonstrates how this was never “No Fun” City – at least once the sun went down.

AUTHOR BIO: Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician with a special interest in Vancouver’s entertainment history. He is the author of The Last Gang in Town, the story of Vancouver’s Clark Park Gang; Liquor, Lust, and the Law, the story of Vancouver’s Penthouse Nightclub, now available in a second edition; and Live at the Commodore, a history of the Commodore Ballroom that won the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2015. He lives in Vancouver.

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Cedar and Salt: Vancouver Island Recipes from Forest, Farm, Field, and Sea
by Danielle (DL) Acken and Emily Lycopolus
Publisher: Touchwood Editions

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Off the shore of Canada’s west coast lies a food lover’s island paradise. Vancouver Island’s temperate climate nurtures a bounty of wild foods, heritage grains, organic produce, sustainable meats and artisan-crafted edible delights. This thoughtfully curated, beautifully photographed cookbook brings Vancouver Island’s abundant food scene into the kitchens of home cooks everywhere.

While celebrating such treasures such as fresh blackberries, foraged chanterelles and fiddleheads, freshly harvested spot prawns or oysters, line-caught spring salmon, grass-fed beef, and cultivated foods like heritage red fife wheat, the book’s recipes highlight the most sought-after ingredients on the island and honour the producers and artisans dedicated to sustainable and ethical producing and harvesting.

Try recipes like Craft Beer–Braised Island Beef Brisket, Nettle and Chèvre Ravioli, and Beetroot and Black Walnut Cake featuring Denman Island Chocolate. Divided into four sections—forest, field, farm, and sea—Cedar and Salt puts the taste of Vancouver Island on a pedestal, and then brings it to your plate.

AUTHOR BIOS: Danielle (DL) Acken is a Canadian-born international food writer and photographer who splits her time between London, UK and her farm studio on Canada’s beautiful Salt Spring Island. See her work at dlacken.com.

Emily Lycopolus is a recipe developer, the author of six olive oil-focused cookbooks, a level two olive oil sommelier, the co-founder of eatcreative.ca, a food-driven creative content agency, and the founder of The Olive Oil Critic (oliveoilcritic.com). Her family owns an olive grove in central Italy, where her love of olive oil began. She lives in Victoria, BC.

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Voices from the Skeena: An Illustrated Oral History
by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

BOOK DESCRIPTION: The Skeena, second longest river in the province, remains an icon of British Columbia’s northwest. Called Xsien (“water of the clouds”) by the Tsimshian and Gitksan, it has always played a vital role in the lives of Indigenous people of the region. Since the 1800s, it has also become home to gold seekers, traders, salmon fishers and other settlers who were drawn by the area’s beauty and abundant natural resources.

Voices from the Skeena will take readers on a journey inspired directly by the people who lived there. Combining forty illustrations with text selected from the pioneer interviews CBC radio producer Imbert Orchard recorded in the 1960s, the book follows the arrival of the Europeans and the introduction of the fur trade to the Omineca gold rush and the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad.

Open the pages to meet Robert Cunningham, an Anglican missionary who would later become the founder of the thriving Port Essington. Here too is a man called Cataline, a packer for whom no settlement was too remote to reach, and the indominable Sarah Glassey, the first woman to pre-empt land in British Columbia. At the heart of these stories is the river, weaving together a narrative of a people and their culture. Pairing the stories with Roy Henry Vicker’s vibrant art creates a unique and captivating portrait of British Columbia that will appeal to art lovers and history readers alike.

AUTHOR BIOS: Robert (Lucky) Budd is the co-author of the Northwest Coast Legends series and the author of Voices of British Columbia (Douglas & McIntyre, 2010), which was shortlisted for the 2011 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award, and its sequel, Echoes of British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2014), which won second prize in the BC Historical Federation’s writing competition in 2014. He lives in Victoria, BC.

Roy Henry Vickers is a Canadian Master Artist best known around the world for his limited edition prints. He is also an accomplished carver, design advisor of prestigious public spaces, a sought-after keynote speaker, and publisher and author of several successful books.In addition, he is a recognized leader in the First Nations community, and a tireless spokesperson for recovery from addictions and abuse.

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Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips, and Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality
by Bob Joseph
Publisher: Page Two Strategies

BOOK DESCRIPTION: We are all treaty people. But what are the everyday impacts of treaties, and how can we effectively work toward reconciliation if we’re worried our words and actions will unintentionally cause harm?

Hereditary chief and leading Indigenous relations trainer Bob Joseph is your guide to respecting cultural differences and improving your personal relationships and business interactions with Indigenous Peoples. Practical and inclusive, Indigenous Relations interprets the difference between hereditary and elected leadership, and why it matters; explains the intricacies of Aboriginal Rights and Title, and the treaty process; and demonstrates the lasting impact of the Indian Act, including the barriers that Indigenous communities face and the truth behind common myths and stereotypes perpetuated since Confederation.

Indigenous Relations equips you with the necessary knowledge to respectfully avoid missteps in your work and daily life, and offers an eight-part process to help business and government work more effectively with Indigenous Peoples – benefitting workplace culture as well as the bottom line. Indigenous Relations is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to improve their cultural competency and undo the legacy of the Indian Act.

AUTHOR BIO: Bob Joseph, founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc., has provided training on Indigenous relations since 1994. As a certified Master Trainer, Bob has assisted both individuals and organizations in building Indigenous relations. His Canadian clients include all levels of government, Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, including the World Bank, small and medium-sized corporate enterprises, and Indigenous Peoples. He has worked internationally for clients in the United States, Guatemala, Peru, and New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Bob Joseph is an Indigenous person, or more specifically a status Indian, and is a member of the Gwawaenuk Nation. The Gwawaenuk is one of the many Kwakwaka’wakw tribes located between Comox and Port Hardy on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland of British Columbia. He comes from a proud potlatch family and is an initiated member of the Hamatsa Society. As the son of a hereditary chief, he will one day, in accordance with strict cultural laws, become a hereditary chief.

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I Saw Three Ships
by Bill Richardson
Publisher: Talonbooks

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “By June, Philip’s view of English Bay, what’s left of it, will be utterly gone. It was always going to happen. For years now, it’s been getting harder and harder to see what’s out there. For years now, it’s been getting harder and harder to know what to do.”

Eight linked stories, all set around Christmastime in Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood, explore the seasonal tug-of-war between expectation and disappointment. These tales give shelter to characters from various walks of life whose experience of transcendence leaves them more alienated than consoled.

I Saw Three Ships captures a West End community vanishing under pressure from development and skyrocketing real-estate prices. As arch as they are elegiac, as funny as they are melancholy, these stories honour a cherished period in the history of the West End. Sometimes twisted, sometimes tender, I Saw Three Ships will speak to all who have ever been stuck spinning their wheels at the corner of Heathen and Holy.

AUTHOR BIO: Bill Richardson, winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and former CBC Radio personality, is the author of numerous books for both adults and children, including plays, poetry, and fiction.

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Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence

Supported by The Honourable Lieutenant Governor of BC
Jurors: Garry Gottfriedson, Minelle Mahtani, and Erin J Watkins

Julie Flett

Julie Flett is a Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist. She has received many awards including the 2017 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature for her work on When We Were Alone by David Robertson (High Water Press), the 2016 American Indian Library Association Award for Best Picture Book for Little You by Richard Van Camp (Orca Books), and she is the three-time recipient of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Award for Owls See Clearly at Night; A Michif Alphabet, by Julie Flett, Dolphin SOS, by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki (Tradewind Books), and My Heart Fills with Happiness, by Monique Gray Smith (Orca Books).

Her own Wild Berries (Simply Read Books) was featured in The New York Times and included among Kirkus’s Best Children’s Books of 2013. Wild Berries was also chosen as Canada’s First Nation Communities Read title selection for 2014–2015.

For more information about Julie visit her website.

Joy Kogawa

Acclaimed author Joy Kogawa is best known as the author of Obasan (1981), a Canadian novel that has become essential reading for a nation.

Obasan is based on Joy and her family’s forced relocation from Vancouver during the Second World War when she was six years old. The novel remains ‘a touchstone’ for the internment of Japanese Canadians during this era. Joy has also worked extensively to educate the public about this dark period in Canadian history and she actively fought for government redress.

Joy’s other novels for adults include Itsuka (1992, republished as Emily Kato in 2005) and The Rain Ascends (1995). Her works for children are Naomi’s Road (2005 – also produced as an opera by Vancouver Opera in 2005 and 2013) and Naomi’s Tree (2009). Since 1967, Joy has also published several poetry collections, including A Garden of Anchors: Selected Poems (2003).

Among her many honours, Joy has received an Order of Canada (1986), an order of British Columbia (2006) and, from the Japanese Government, an Order of the Rising Sun (2010) for ‘her contribution to the understanding and preservation of Japanese Canadian history.’

For more information about Joy, please visit her official website.

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Borealis Prize: The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution

The recipient of the Borealis Prize: The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution will be recognized as having:

  • spent significant time living and working among the writing community in Yukon; and
  • made substantial contributions to the Yukon writing and publishing community through writing, publishing, community organizing, Indigenous writing and storytelling, or in many other ways.

Jurors: Tara Borin, Ben Charland, Jamella Hagen

Patti Flather

Patti Flather is an award-winning playwright, dramaturg, director, and writer. A scene from Paradise is featured in Refractions: Scenes with Playwrights Canada Press.

Her other plays include Sixty BelowWest Edmonton MallWhere the River Meets the SeaStreet Signs (formerly The Soul Menders), and the devised work Map of the Land, Map of the Stars. She is a co-creator of the Ndoo Tr’eedyaa Gogwaandak—Vuntut Gwitchin Stories radio plays in Gwich’in and English (vuntutstories.ca). Patti is co-founder and former Artistic Director of Gwaandak Theatre, which develops and shares Indigenous and Northern stories for the stage.

Her fiction has appeared in various literary journals; her fiction collection Such A Lovely Afternoon is forthcoming in 2021. Patti is a recipient of the Yukon Arts Builder Award and a past winner of Theatre BC’s national playwriting competition. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Patti grew up in North Vancouver, but now lives in Whitehorse.

Leonard Linklater

Leonard Linklater is a playwright and founding Gwaandak Theatre Co-Artistic Director, a journalist and host of CBC Yukon’s Midday Cafe. A member of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, he was born and raised in Inuvik, N.W.T. and is a co-creator of Ndoo Treedyaa Gogwaandak, including Ch’iitsii Khał Datl’oo / The Blue Cruiser, adapted from his godfather Stephen Frost’s story. Leonard’s first play Sixty Below received seven Dora nominations for its Toronto production (Native Earth). Justice was featured in Ottawa at the National Arts Centre’s Northern Scene, fittingly, in an old courthouse. Leonard was a co-creator of Map of the Land, Map of the Stars. A participant in the 2019 Caravan Farm Theatre National Playwrights Retreat, he is currently working on a new play Treaties with his spouse Patti Flather. He is a member of Playwrights Guild of Canada.