Vancouver, BC — The BC and Yukon Book Prizes are thrilled to announce exciting changes to the Prize program for 2020, including two new categories: the return of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence and the Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes. The prize for all existing awards will also be increased by $1,000 each, to $3,000, reflecting the dedication and impact award recipients have made to literature across western Canada.

The seven existing prize categories cover fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s literature.

Kathie Shoemaker, President and Chair of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes Board, says, “This is the beginning of a board goal to raise the cash award for each prize over the next few years to at least $5000 each. This year’s increase and longer term goal were unanimously supported by the BC Yukon Board of Directors.”

The Board aims to increase investment in the literary and writing community of BC and Yukon through the enrichment of the prizes and the continued development of other programs like the Author Tour.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence will return in 2020. This prize is awarded to a writer who has contributed significantly to the development of literary excellence in BC, as well as having produced a substantial body of work throughout their career. Adjudication of this prize is supported by a partnership with the BC Achievement Foundation, whose mandate is to honour excellence and inspire achievement.

“I am delighted to see the return of this special award for literary excellence. As Lieutenant Governor, I have the privilege of celebrating the contributions of British Columbians. It is important to celebrate stories told by Canadians, as literary voices play a vital role in strengthening the social fabric of our country. This award will provide the recipient with well-deserved recognition for their contributions to literature in BC and Yukon”, says the Honourable Janet Austin.

The Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes is a ground-breaking new award valued at $5,000. It commemorates legendary Vancouver bookseller and LGBTQ2S+ activist Jim Deva. Thanks to a generous donation from Deva’s long-time partner Bruce Smyth, the prize will be awarded for at least 10 years and includes funding for shortlisted writers to participate in the Book Prizes’ annual Author Tour.

Bruce Smyth says, “The goal of this prize is to educate, liberate and celebrate. My hope for the prize is that it will encourage and acknowledge folks for challenging social norms.”

The Prizes will be adjudicated by professional juries during the winter months. Shortlists for each category will be announced in the spring and presentations of the awards will occur at a Gala celebration in late April.

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Sean Cranbury
Executive Director, BC Yukon Book Prizes