Announcing the shortlists for the 2021 BC and Yukon Book Prizes

The West Coast Book Prize Society is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2021 BC and Yukon Book Prizes. Congratulations to the authors, illustrators, and publishers!

The BC & Yukon Book Prizes Gala and awards announcement will take place Saturday, September 18th, 2021.

Jurors for each category will be announced at the Gala.

» 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


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

 

The New Corporation: How “Good” Corporations Are Bad for Democracy
by Joel Bakan
Publisher: Allen Lane Canada/Penguin Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Over the last decade and a half, business leaders, Silicon Valley executives, and the Davos elite have been calling for a new kind of capitalism. The writing was on the wall. With income inequality soaring, wages stagnating, and a climate crisis escalating, it was no longer viable to justify harming the environment and ducking taxes in the name of shareholder value. Business leaders realized that to get out in front of these problems, they had to make social and environmental values the very core of their messaging. Their essential pitch was: Who could be better suited to address major societal issues than efficiently run corporations? There is just one small problem with their doing well by doing good pitch. Corporations are still, ultimately, answerable to their shareholders, and doing well always comes first.

This essential truth lies at the heart of Joel Bakan’s argument. In lucid and engaging prose, Bakan lays bare a litany of immoral corporate actions and documents corporate power grabs dressed up as social initiatives. He makes clear the urgency of the problem of the corporatization of society itself and shows how people are fighting back and making gains on a grassroots level.

AUTHOR BIO: Joel Bakan is an internationally recognized and award-winning scholar and teacher who has worked on landmark legal cases and government policies. His bestselling book The Corporation was made into an award-winning documentary. He lives in Vancouver.

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A History of My Brief Body
by Billy-Ray Belcourt
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. From there, it expands to encompass the big and broken world around him, in all its complexity and contradictions: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it, first loves and first loves lost, sexual exploration and intimacy, and the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.

AUTHOR BIO: Billy-Ray Belcourt(he/him) is a writer and scholar from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for his debut collection, This Wound Is a World, which was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His second book of poetry, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, was longlisted for Canada Reads 2020. A recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and an Indspire Award, Belcourt is Assistant Professor of Indigenous Creative Writing at UBC.

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My Art is Killing Me and Other Poems
by Amber Dawn
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In her novels, poetry, and prose, Amber Dawn has written eloquently on queer femme sexuality, individual and systemic trauma, and sex work justice, themes drawn from her own lived experience and revealed most notably in her award-winning memoir How Poetry Saved My Life.

In this, her second poetry collection, Amber Dawn takes stock of the costs of coming out on the page in a heartrendingly honest and intimate investigation of the toll that artmaking takes on artists. These long poems offer difficult truths within their intricate narratives that are alternately incendiary, tender, and rapturous.

In a cultural era when intersectional and marginalized writers are topping bestseller lists, Amber Dawn invites her readers to take an unflinching look at what we expect from writers, and from each other.

Includes a foreword by writer Doretta Lau.

AUTHOR BIO: Amber Dawn is the author of the novels Sodom Road Exit (2018) and Sub Rosa (winner of a Lambda Literary Award, 2010), the Vancouver Book Award-winning memoir How Poetry Saved My Life (2013), and the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize-nominated poetry collection Where the words end and my body begins (2015). She is also editor of Fist of the Spider Woman: Tales of Fear and Queer Desire and co-editor of Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers’ Poetry and With a Rough Tongue. Her most recent book is My Art Is Killing Me and Other Poems. She teaches creative writing at Douglas College in Vancouver, and also leads several low-barrier community writing classes.

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Five Little Indians
by Michelle Good
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention.

Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.

Fuelled by rage and furious with God, Clara finds her way into the dangerous, highly charged world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalizes her pain and continually places herself in dangerous situations. Famous for his daring escapes from the school, Kenny can’t stop running and moves restlessly from job to job—through fishing grounds, orchards and logging camps—trying to outrun his memories and his addiction. Lucy finds peace in motherhood and nurtures a secret compulsive disorder as she waits for Kenny to return to the life they once hoped to share together. After almost beating one of his tormentors to death, Howie serves time in prison, then tries once again to re-enter society and begin life anew.

With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward.

AUTHOR BIO: Michelle Good is a writer of Cree ancestry and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. She obtained her law degree after three decades of working with indigenous communities and organizations. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, while still practising law, and won the HarperCollins/UBC Prize in 2018. Her poems, short stories and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada. Michelle Good lives and writes in south central British Columbia. 

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Overdose: Heartbreak and Hope in Canada’s Opioid Crisis
by Benjamin Perrin
Publisher: Viking Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: North America is in the middle of a health emergency. Life expectancies are declining. Someone is dying every two hours in Canada from illicit drug overdose. Fentanyl has become a looming presence—an opioid more powerful, pervasive, and deadly than any previous street drug.

The victims are many—and often not whom we might expect. They include the poor and forgotten but also our neighbours: professionals, students, and parents. Despite the thousands of deaths, these victims have remained largely invisible.

But not anymore. Benjamin Perrin, a law and policy expert, shines a light in this darkest of corners—and his findings challenge many assumptions about the crisis. Why do people use drugs despite the risk of overdosing? Can we crack down on the fentanyl supply? Do supervised consumption sites and providing “safe drugs” enable the problem? Which treatments work? Would decriminalizing all drugs help or do further harm?

In this urgent and humane look at a devastating epidemic, Perrin draws on behind-the-scenes interviews with those on the frontlines, including undercover police officers, intelligence analysts, border agents, prosecutors, healthcare professionals, Indigenous organizations, activists, and people who use drugs. Not only does he unveil the many complexities of this situation, but he also offers a new way forward—one that may save thousands of lives.

AUTHOR BIO: Benjamin Perrin is a professor at the University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law. He served as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, and was the lead justice and public safety advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2012-13. Professor Perrin is the author of two previous books: Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, which was a national bestseller and named one of the top books of the year by The Globe and Mail, and Victim Law: The Law of Victims of Crime in Canada. He lives in Vancouver, BC.

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Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

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

 

Five Little Indians
by Michelle Good
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Taken from their families when they are very small and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention.

Alone and without any skills, support or families, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends cross and crisscross over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission.

Fuelled by rage and furious with God, Clara finds her way into the dangerous, highly charged world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalizes her pain and continually places herself in dangerous situations. Famous for his daring escapes from the school, Kenny can’t stop running and moves restlessly from job to job—through fishing grounds, orchards and logging camps—trying to outrun his memories and his addiction. Lucy finds peace in motherhood and nurtures a secret compulsive disorder as she waits for Kenny to return to the life they once hoped to share together. After almost beating one of his tormentors to death, Howie serves time in prison, then tries once again to re-enter society and begin life anew.

With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward. 

AUTHOR BIO: Michelle Good is a writer of Cree ancestry and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. She obtained her law degree after three decades of working with indigenous communities and organizations. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing at UBC, while still practising law, and won the HarperCollins/UBC Prize in 2018. Her poems, short stories and essays have been published in magazines and anthologies across Canada. Michelle Good lives and writes in south central British Columbia. 

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The Certainties
by Aislinn Hunter
Publisher: Knopf Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A vivid, moving novel reminiscent of Anthony Doerr and Michael Ondaatje, about the entwined fates of two very different refugees.

In 1940, as the shadow of war lengthens over Europe, three mysterious travelers enter a village in Spain. They have the appearance of Parisian intellectuals, but the trio of two men and a woman are starving and exhausted from crossing illegally through the Pyrenees. Their story, told over a period of 48 tense hours, is narrated by one of the men, who slowly accepts his unthinkable fate. In a voice despairing and elegant, he calmly considers what he should do, and weighs what any one life means. As he does so, his attention is caught by a five-year-old named Pia who wanders near his cafe table. To Pia he begins to address all that he thinks and feels in his final hours–envisioning a rich future life for her that both reflects and contrasts with his own.

Meanwhile, in the 1980s, a woman named Pia seeks solitude on a remote island in the Atlantic, where she works at an inn and reflects on her chaotic childhood. As Pia’s story begins, a raging storm engulfs the island and a boat flounders offshore. Pia and her fellow islanders rush to help–and past and present calamities collide.

By turns elegiac and heart-pounding, a love letter in the guise of a song of despair, The Certainties is a moving and transformative blend of historical and speculative fiction–a novel that shows us what it means to bear witness, and to attend to those who seek refuge, past and present.

AUTHOR BIO: Aislinn Hunter is an award-winning novelist and poet and the author of seven highly acclaimed books including the novel The World Before Us, which was a New York Times Editor’s Choice, a Guardian and NPR “Book of the Year,” and winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Her work has been adapted into music, dance, art, and film forms–including a feature film based on her novel Stay, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Hunter holds degrees in Creative Writing, Art History, Writing and Cultural Politics, and English Literature. In 2018 she served as a Canadian War Artist working with Canadian and NATO forces. She teaches creative writing and lives in Vancouver, BC.

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Petra
by Shaena Lambert
Publisher: Random House Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Inspired by Petra Kelly, the original Green Party leader and political activist who fought for the planet in 1980s Germany, Shaena Lambert brings us a captivating new novel about a woman who changed history and transformed environmental politics–and who, like many history-changing women, has been largely erased. Award-winning novelist Madeleine Thien calls Petra “a masterpiece–a fierce, humane and powerful novel for our times.”

January, 1980. At the height of the Cold War, Petra Kelly inspires hundreds of thousands to take to the streets to protest the placement of nuclear missiles on West German soil–including a NATO general named Emil Gerhardt, who shocks the establishment by converting to the cause. Petra and her general not only vault to fame as the stars of the Green Party, but they also fall in love. Then Manfred Schwartz, an ex-lover, urges Petra to draw back the curtain on Emil’s war record, and they enter a world both complicated and threatening.

Told by Manfred Schwartz, from his place in a present world even more beset by existential threats, Petra is an exploration of love, jealousy, and the power of social change. A woman capable of founding a new and world-changing politics and taking on two superpowers, Petra still must grapple with her own complex nature and a singular and fatal love.

AUTHOR BIO: Shaena Lambert is the author of the novel, Radiance and two books of stories, Oh, My Darling and The Falling Woman, all of which were Globe and Mail best books of the year. Her fiction has been published to critical acclaim in Canada, the UK and Germany and has been nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, the Evergreen Award, the Danuta Gleed Award and the Frank O’Connor Award for the Short Story. Her stories have been chosen four times for Best Canadian Stories, and have appeared in many publications, including The Walrus, Zoetrope: All Story, Ploughshares, The Journey Prize Anthology

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Consent
by Annabel Lyon
Publisher: Random House Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A smart, mysterious and heartbreaking novel centred on two sets of sisters whose lives are braided together when tragedy changes them forever. From the award-winning author of The Golden Mean.

Saskia and Jenny are twins who are alike only in appearance. Saskia is a hard-working grad student whose interests are solely academic, while Jenny, an interior designer, is glamourous, thrill-seeking, capricious and narcissistic. Still, when Jenny is severely injured in an accident, Saskia puts her life on hold to be with her sister.

Sara and Mattie are sisters with a difficult relationship. Mattie, the younger sister, is affectionate, curious and intellectually disabled. As soon as Sara is able, she leaves home, in pursuit of a life of the mind and the body: she loves nothing more than fine wines, sensual perfumes, and expensive clothing. But when their mother dies, Sara inherits the duty of caring for her sister. Arriving at the house one day, she finds out that Mattie has married Robert, her wealthy mother’s handyman. Though Mattie seems happy, Sara cannot let this go, forcing the annulment of the marriage and the banishment of Robert. With him out of the picture, though, she has no choice but to become her sister’s keeper, sacrificing her own happiness and Mattie’s too. When Robert turns up again, another tragedy happens. The waves from these events eventually engulf Sara and Saskia, sisters in mourning, in a quest for revenge.

Consent is a startling, moving, thought-provoking novel on the complexities of familial duty and on how love can become entangled with guilt, resentment and regret.

AUTHOR BIO: Annabel Lyon is the author of seven books for adults and kids, including the internationally bestselling The Golden Mean. She teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

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Fake it So Real
by Susan Sanford Blades
Publisher: Nightwood Editions

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Fake it so Real takes on the fallout from a punk-rock lifestyle―the future of “no future”―and its effect on the subsequent generations of one family. In June of 1983, Gwen, a gnarly Nancy Spungen look-alike, meets Damian, the enigmatic leader of a punk band. Seven years and two unplanned pregnancies later, Damian abandons Gwen, leaving her to raise their two daughters, Sara and Meg, on her own.

The voices of Gwen, Sara and Meg weave a raw and honest tapestry of family life told from the underbelly, focused on the grey area between right and wrong, the idea that we are all equally culpable and justified in our actions, and the pain and ecstasy that accompany a life lived authentically.

AUTHOR BIO: Susan Sanford Blades lives in Victoria, BC, where she completed an MFA in fiction at the University of Victoria. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines across Canada and in the US and Ireland, including Minola Review, EVENT, The Moth, The Puritan, Numéro Cinq, The New Quarterly, Grain and Prairie Fire and anthologized in Coming Attractions 16.

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Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

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

 

A History of My Brief Body: A Memoir
by Billy-Ray Belcourt
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Billy-Ray Belcourt’s debut memoir opens with a tender letter to his kokum and memories of his early life in the hamlet of Joussard, Alberta, and on the Driftpile First Nation. From there, it expands to encompass the big and broken world around him, in all its complexity and contradictions: a legacy of colonial violence and the joy that flourishes in spite of it, first loves and first loves lost, sexual exploration and intimacy, and the act of writing as a survival instinct and a way to grieve. What emerges is not only a profound meditation on memory, gender, anger, shame, and ecstasy, but also the outline of a way forward. With startling honesty, and in a voice distinctly and assuredly his own, Belcourt situates his life experiences within a constellation of seminal queer texts, among which this book is sure to earn its place. Eye-opening, intensely emotional, and excessively quotable, A History of My Brief Body demonstrates over and over again the power of words to both devastate and console us.

AUTHOR BIO: Billy-Ray Belcourt (he/him) is a writer and scholar from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He won the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize for his debut collection, This Wound Is a World, which was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. His second book of poetry, NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field, was longlisted for Canada Reads 2020. A recipient of the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and an Indspire Award, Belcourt is Assistant Professor of Indigenous Creative Writing at UBC.

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Nerve: A Personal Journey Through the Science of Fear
by Eva Holland
Publisher: Allen Lane Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In 2015, Eva Holland was forced to confront her greatest fear when her mother had a stroke and suddenly passed away. After the shock and grief subsided, Holland began to examine the extent to which her many fears had limited her, and wondered whether or not it was possible to move past them.

This sent Holland on a deep dive into the science of fear, digging into an array of universal and personal questions: Why do we feel fear? Where do phobias come from and how are they related to anxiety disorders and trauma? Can you really smell fear? (Yes.) What would it be like to feel no fear? Is there a cure for fear? Or, put differently, is there a better way to feel afraid?

On her journey, Holland meets with scientists who are working to eliminate phobias with a single pill, she explores the lives of the few individuals who suffer from a rare disease that prevents them from ever feeling fear, and she immerses herself in her own fears including hurling herself out of a plane for her first skydive (and in the process, learns that there are right and wrong ways to face your fears).

Fear is a universal human experience, and Nerve answers these questions in a refreshingly accessible way, offering readers an often personal, sometimes funny, and always rigorously researched journey through the science of facing our fears.

AUTHOR BIO: Eva Holland is a freelance writer based in Whitehorse, Yukon. She is currently a correspondent at the magazine Outside, and has had her work published in Wired, Bloomberg Businessweek, Pacific Standard, National Geographic News, The Walrus, Hazlitt, and many more.

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A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency
by Seth Klein
Publisher: ECW Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Canada needs to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to prevent a catastrophic 1.5 degree increase in the earth’s average temperature — assumed by many scientists to be a critical “danger line” for the planet and human life as we know it.

It’s 2020, and Canada is not on track to meet our targets. To do so, we’ll need radical systemic change to how we live and work—and fast. How can we ever achieve this?

Top policy analyst and author Seth Klein reveals we can do it now because we’ve done it before. During the Second World War, Canadian citizens and government remade the economy by retooling factories, transforming their workforce, and making the war effort a common cause for all Canadians to contribute to.

Klein demonstrates how wartime thinking and community efforts can be repurposed today for Canada’s own Green New Deal. He shares how we can create jobs and reduce inequality while tackling our climate obligations for a climate neutral—or even climate zero—future. From enlisting broad public support for new economic models, to job creation through investment in green infrastructure, Klein shows us a bold, practical policy plan for Canada’s sustainable future. More than this: A Good War offers a remarkably hopeful message for how we can meet the defining challenge of our lives.

COVID-19 has brought a previously unthinkable pace of change to the world—one which demonstrates our ability to adapt rapidly when we’re at risk. Many recent changes are what Klein proposes in these very pages. The world can, actually, turn on a dime if necessary. This is the blueprint for how to do it. 

AUTHOR BIO:

Seth Klein was the founding British Columbia director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for over two decades and has been immersed in climate change and inequality issues for his working life. He is currently an adjunct professor in urban studies at Simon Fraser University and remains a research associate with the CCPA. He lives in Vancouver, BC.

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Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End: A Memoir
by Liz Levine
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In November of 2016, Liz Levine’s younger sister, Tamara, reached a breaking point after years of living with mental illness. In the dark hours before dawn, she sent a final message to her family then killed herself.

In Nobody Ever Talks About Anything But the End, Liz weaves the story of what happened to Tamara with another significant death—that of Liz’s childhood love, Judson, to cancer. She writes about her relationship with Judson, Tamara’s struggles, the conflicts that arise in a family of challenging personalities, and how death casts a long shadow. This memorable account of life and loss is haunting yet filled with dark humor—Tamara emails her family when Trump is elected to check if she’s imagining things again, Liz discovers a banana has been indicted as a whistleblower in an alleged family conspiracy, and a little niece declares Tamara’s funeral the “most fun ever!”

With honesty, Liz exposes the raw truths about grief and mourning that we often shy away from—and almost never share with others. And she reveals how, in the midst of death, life—with all its messy complications—must also be celebrated.

AUTHOR BIO: Liz Levine is an award-winning producer whose credits include Kyra Sedgwick’s directorial debut, Story of a Girl, and Douglas Coupland’s television series jPod. She completed her master of journalism degree at the University of British Columbia and has written for the National Post, The Walrus, Playback magazine, and The Vancouver Sun. She divides her time between Toronto, Vancouver, and Los Angeles.

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Overdose: Heartbreak and Hope in Canada’s Opioid Crisis
by Benjamin Perrin
Publisher: Viking Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: North America is in the middle of a health emergency. Life expectancies are declining. Someone is dying every two hours in Canada from illicit drug overdose. Fentanyl has become a looming presence—an opioid more powerful, pervasive, and deadly than any previous street drug.

The victims are many—and often not whom we might expect. They include the poor and forgotten but also our neighbours: professionals, students, and parents. Despite the thousands of deaths, these victims have remained largely invisible.

But not anymore. Benjamin Perrin, a law and policy expert, shines a light in this darkest of corners—and his findings challenge many assumptions about the crisis. Why do people use drugs despite the risk of overdosing? Can we crack down on the fentanyl supply? Do supervised consumption sites and providing “safe drugs” enable the problem? Which treatments work? Would decriminalizing all drugs help or do further harm?

In this urgent and humane look at a devastating epidemic, Perrin draws on behind-the-scenes interviews with those on the frontlines, including undercover police officers, intelligence analysts, border agents, prosecutors, healthcare professionals, Indigenous organizations, activists, and people who use drugs. Not only does he unveil the many complexities of this situation, but he also offers a new way forward—one that may save thousands of lives.

AUTHOR BIO: Benjamin Perrin is a professor at the University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law. He served as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, and was the lead justice and public safety advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper from 2012-13. Professor Perrin is the author of two previous books: Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, which was a national bestseller and named one of the top books of the year by The Globe and Mail, and Victim Law: The Law of Victims of Crime in Canada. He lives in Vancouver, BC.

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Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

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

The East Side of it All
by Joseph Dandurand
Publisher: Nightwood Editions

BOOK DESCRIPTION: The East Side of It All draws on Joseph Dandurand’s first-hand experiences of life as a drug user and single-room occupant in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and of the ongoing process of healing through reconnection with family, the natural world and traditional Indigenous (Kwantlen) storytelling. His voice is lyrical yet intimate, obscured yet sitting with you at the kitchen table having a cigarette. The East Side of It All is the journey of a broken man who finally accepts his storytelling gift and shares with the world his misery, joy and laughter. Dandurand’s previous poetry collection was shortlisted for the 2020 Dorothy Livesay BC and Yukon Book Prize for Poetry.

AUTHOR BIO: Joseph Dandurand is a member of Kwantlen First Nation located on the Fraser River about twenty minutes east of Vancouver, BC. He resides there with his three children. Dandurand is the director of the Kwantlen Cultural Centre and the author of two books of poetry, I Want (Leaf Press, 2015) and Hear and Foretell (BookLand Press, 2015), and the children’s book The Sasquatch, the Fire and the Cedar Baskets (Nightwood Editions, 2020).

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eat salt | gaze at the ocean
by Junie Désil
Publisher: Talonbooks

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

eat salt | gaze at the ocean explores the themes of Black sovereignty, Haitian sovereignty, and Black lives, using the Haitian (original) zombie as a metaphor for the condition and treatment of Black bodies. Interspersed with information about zombies, Haiti, and policies is the author’s personal narrative of growing up Black and Haitian of immigrant parents on stolen land. The collection is divided into two sections: the first half focusses on zombies, while the second focusses on the ocean/water and the violent crossing experienced by enslaved folks. The book’s title refers to the “cure” for reversing the process of becoming a zombie.

AUTHOR BIO: Junie Désil is a Haitian Canadian poet. Born of immigrant parents on the traditional territories of the Kanien’kehá:ka in the island known as Tiotia:ke (Montréal), raised in Treaty 1 territories (Winnipeg). Junie has performed at various literary events and festivals. Her work has appeared in Room Magazine, PRISM International, The Capilano Review, and CV 2. A recovering academic, a UBC alum, and most recently an alumni of SFU’s The Writer’s Studio, Junie currently works in the Downtown Eastside, on the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (unceded and Ancestral Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Territories) and lives on Qayqayt Territory (New Westminster), juggling writing and life.

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I Am Still Your Negro: An Homage to James Baldwin
by Valerie Mason-John
Publisher: University of Alberta Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Spoken-word poet Valerie Mason-John unsettles readers with potent images of ongoing trauma from slavery and colonization. Her narratives range from the beginnings of the African Diaspora to the story of a stowaway on the Windrush, from racism and sexism in Trump’s America to the wide impact of the Me Too movement. Stories of entrapment, sexual assault, addictive behaviours, and rave culture are told and contrasted to the strengthening and forthright voice of Yaata, Supreme Being. I Am Still Your Negro is truth that needs to be told, re-told, and remembered.

AUTHOR BIO: Poet, author, and public speaker Valerie Mason-John (a.k.a. “Queenie”) highlights issues of the African Diaspora and the Black, female, Queer identity and resists the currently existing overt and covert forms of colonialism through her fierce and brave writing. She is the author of eight books. Her debut novel, Borrowed Body, won the 2006 Mind Book of the Year Award. She co-edited the award-winning anthology, The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry and co-produced blackhalifax.com. She lives in Vancouver.

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Burning Province
by Michael Prior
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Amid the record-breaking wildfires that scorched British Columbia in 2015 and 2017, the poems in this collection move seamlessly between geographical and psychological landscapes, grappling with cultural trauma and mapping out complex topographies of grief, love, and inheritance: those places in time marked by generational memory “when echo crosses echo.”

     Burning Province is an elegy for a home aflame and for grandparents who had a complex relationship to it–but it is also a vivid appreciation of mono no aware: the beauty and impermanence of all living things. “The fireflies stutter like an apology,” Prior writes; “I would be lying to you / if I didn’t admit I love them.”

AUTHOR BIO: Michael Prior is a writer and a teacher. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and anthologies across North America and the U.K., including Poetry, The New Republic, Narrative, Ambit, Poetry Northwest, The Margins, PN Review, Verse Daily, Global Poetry Anthology 2015, The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day series. He is a past winner of Magma Poetry’s Editors’ Prize, The Walrus‘s Poetry Prize, and Matrix Magazine‘s Lit POP Award for Poetry. His first full-length book of poems, Model Disciple, was named one of the best books of the year by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Prior holds graduate degrees from the University of Toronto and Cornell University. He divides his time between Saint Paul, M.N. and Vancouver, B.C.

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Music at the Heart of Thinking: Improvisations 1-170
by Fred Wah
Publisher: Talonbooks

BOOK DESCRIPTION: The music of thinking. The thinking of music. Music at the Heart of Thinking is a poetry that works through language as the true practice of thought and improvisation as the tool that listens to and notates thinking. From jazz, the unpredictable ad lib driving itself from itself. From a drunken Shaolin monk, the poem as imbalanced tai chi. From Keats’s negative capability, the half-closed eye, the estrangement of language. All intended to bump beyond the end of the word into focus. As a response to readings in contemporary texts, art, and ideas. Music at the Heart of Thinking relocates critical language and thinking to the poetic bavardage at the heart of such endeavours. The poetics that generates these texts arises out of a lifelong poem project that has its roots in the long poem genre of the ’80s and its interest in the resistance to closure and the containment of meaning characteristic of the lyric. This book continues the work of two previous out-of-print publications, Music at the Heart of Thinking (1987) and Alley, Alley Home Free (1990). The poems are generated as textual responses in the reading, looking, and listening of the poet’s attention to his cultural milieu. Thus the writing addresses contemporary texts and art over the past forty years. Within this poetry of estrangement lie possible coherences for some sense of writing as a notation for thinking as feeling. The difficulty of this writing is literal and intentional, wary of any attempt to make thinking simple, easy, or predictable.

AUTHOR BIO:

Fred Wah studied music and English literature at the University of British Columbia in the early 1960s, where he was one of the founding editors of the poetry newsletter TISH.

He has published books of poetry, fiction, and criticism. His book of prose poems, Waiting For Saskatchewan, received the Governor General’s Award in 1986, and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry in 1992. Diamond Grill, a biofiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese Canadian cafe was published in 1996 and won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction. Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity was awarded the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Writing on Canadian literature in 2000, and is a door won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize in 2009.

Wah was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012. He served as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

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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/or Yukon. The book must be original and may deal with any aspect of the province and/or territory.

 

Orphans of Empire: A Novel
by Grant Buday
Publisher: Brindle & Glass

BOOK DESCRIPTION: In Grant Buday’s new novel, three captivating stories intertwine at the site of the New Brighton Hotel on the shores of Burrard Inlet. In 1858 the serious and devoted Sir Richard Clement Moody receives the commission of a lifetime when he is sent to help establish “a second England”—what is now British Columbia. In 1865 Frisadie, an eighteen-year-old Kanaka housemaid, who is more entrepreneur than ingénue, arrives in New Brighton from Hawaii. She convinces Maxie Michaud to purchase the hotel with her, and it soon becomes the toast of the inlet. In 1885 Henry Fannin, a young, curious embalmer and magnetism devotee, having struck out in London and San Francisco, arrives in New Brighton and promptly falls in love with a tragic woman he hears crying on his first night at the hotel.

Endearing, funny, and highly evocative of time and place, Orphans of Empire celebrates those living in the shadow of history’s supposed heroes, their private struggles and personal agendas. Readers who loved Michael Crummey’s Galore and Eowyn Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World, will love this vivid novel of arrivals that prods at the ethics of settlement.

AUTHOR BIO: Grant Buday is the author of the novels Dragonflies, White Lung, Sack of Teeth, Rootbound, The Delusionist, and Atomic Road, the memoir Stranger on a Strange Island, and the travel memoir Golden Goa. His novels have twice been nominated for the City of Vancouver book prize. His articles and essays have been published in Canadian magazines, and his short fiction has appeared in The Journey Prize Anthology and Best Canadian Short Stories. He lives on Mayne Island, British Columbia.

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British Columbia in Flames: Stories from a Blazing Summer
by Claudia Cornwall
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Like many British Columbians in 2017, Claudia Cornwall found herself glued to the news about the disastrous wildfires across the province. Her worry was personal: her cabin at Sheridan Lake had been in the family for sixty years and was now in danger of destruction.

Cornwall, a long-time writer, was stricken not just by her own experience, but by the many moving stories she came across about the fires—so she began collecting them. She met with people from BC communities of Sheridan Lake, Ashcroft, Cache Creek, 16 Mile House, Lac La Hache, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Hanceville-Riske Creek and Clinton. She hoped to be a conduit for the voices she heard—for those who fought the fires raging around them, those who were evacuated and displaced, and those who could do nothing but watch as their homes burned. She conducted over fifty hours of interviews with ranchers, cottagers, Indigenous residents, RCMP officers, evacuees, store and resort owners, search and rescue volunteers, firefighters and local government officials.

Presented in British Columbia in Flames are stories that illustrate the importance of community. During the 2017 wildfires, people looked after strangers who had no place to go. They shared information. They helped each other rescue and shelter animals. They kept stores open day and night to supply gas, food and comfort to evacuees. This memoir, at once journalistic and deeply personal, highlights the strength with which BC communities can and will come together to face a terrifying force of nature.

AUTHOR BIO: Claudia Cornwall is most recently the author of Battling Melanoma and Catching Cancer (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016 and 2013). Her book At the World’s Edge: Curt Lang’s Vancouver, 1937–1998 (Mother Tongue, 2011) was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award, and Letter from Vienna: A Daughter Uncovers Her Family’s Jewish Past (Douglas & McIntyre, 1995) was awarded the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. Cornwall has taught creative writing at Simon Fraser University for many years. She lives in North Vancouver, BC.

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Kwanlin Dün: Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur—Our Story in Our Words
by Kwanlin Dün First Nation
Publisher: Figure 1 Publishing

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Dǎ Kwǎndur Ghày Ghàkwadîndur—Our Story in Our Words traces the heritage of Tagish Kwan and other people belonging to the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, from thousands of years ago to the present day. These stories, told in Tagish, Southern Tutchone, Northern Tutchone, Tlingit and English, confirm deep connections and relationships with the land and all living things, and within clans and families. This is a wide-ranging story, told by many unique voices, one that celebrates the values, endurance, and accomplishments of the Kwanlin Dün.

AUTHOR BIO: Kwanlin Dün First Nation includes people of Southern Tutchone, Tagish, and Tlingit descent, living in their Traditional Territory centred on the headwaters of the Chu Nínkwän (Yukon River). After decades of negotiations, KDFN became a self-governing First Nation in 2005, marking a new beginning for the nation.

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Following the Good River: The Life and Times of Wa’xiad
by Briony Penn with Cecil Paul
Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Based on recorded interviews and journal entries this major biography of Cecil Paul (Wa’xaid) is a resounding and timely saga featuring the trials, tribulations, endurance, forgiveness, and survival of one of North American’s more prominent Indigenous leaders.

Born in 1931 in the Kitlope, Cecil Paul, also known by his Xenaksiala name, Wa’xaid, is one of the last fluent speakers of his people’s language. At age ten he was placed in a residential school run by the United Church of Canada at Port Alberni where he was abused. After three decades of prolonged alcohol abuse, he returned to the Kitlope where his healing journey began. He has worked tirelessly to protect the Kitlope, described as the largest intact temperate rainforest watershed in the world. Now in his late 80s, he resides on his ancestors’ traditional territory.

Following upon the success of Wa’xaid’s own book of personal essays, Stories from the Magic Canoe, Briony Penn’s major biography of this remarkable individual will serve as a timely reminder of the state of British Columbia’s Indigenous community, the environmental and political strife still facing many Indigenous communities, and the philosophical and personal journey of a remarkable man.

AUTHOR BIOS: 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.

Cecil Paul, also known by his Xenaksiala name, Wa’xaid, is a respected elder, activist and orator, and one of the last fluent speakers of his people’s language. Cecil was born in 1931 in the Kitlope and raised on fishing, hunting, trapping and gathering. At the age of 10 he was torn from his family and placed in a residential school run by the United Church of Canada at Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island. For years, Cecil suffered from the pain of the abuse inflicted there. After three decades of prolonged alcohol abuse, he finally returned to the Kitlope and the positive influence of his people’s knowledge and ways. Once Cecil’s healing journey began, he eventually became an outspoken leader against the industrialization of his people’s land and traditional territory, working tirelessly to protect the Kitlope, the largest intact temperate rainforest watershed in the world. Now in his late 80s, Cecil still lives in his ancestors’ traditional territory, and his work protecting the Kitlope continues to this day.

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The Diary of Dukesang Wong: A Voice from Gold Mountain
by Dukesang Wong
Edited by David McIlwraith
Translated by Wanda Joy Hoe
Publisher: Talonbooks

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The Diary of Dukesang Wong restores a lost central voice to a foundational episode in Canadian history – one that changes our understanding of the history it recounts. Dukesang Wong’s remarkable diary tells of the appalling conditions, the punishing work, the camaraderie, the sickness and starvation, the encounters with Indigenous Peoples, and the shameful history of racism and exploitation he and his fellow Chinese workers endured while constructing the treacherous British Columbia section of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

The Diary of Dukesang Wong also places this segment of Canadian history into context, as one part of Wong’s gradual, painful establishment of a new life in a new land. His diary traces the unfolding of that remarkable life, from his early years in an unstable China, to his decision to emigrate to “the Land of the Gold Mountains,” to becoming a tailor in New Westminster, and finally to the joys of family life. As Judy Fong Bates writes in her introduction, “His diaries give him back his humanity and his individuality … It is a heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful, voice that reaches out beyond the century.”

AUTHOR BIO: Born in a village north of Beijing, China, in 1845, Dukesang Wong travelled to North America in 1880 and worked for several years on the construction of the CPR in British Columbia. He eventually settled in New Westminster, BC, where he worked as a tailor and started a family. He died in 1931.

David McIlwraith has been a writer, teacher, actor, and director. During a career in theatre, film, and television, he wrote and directed award-nominated documentaries and television programs, including Celesta Found, The Lynching of Louie Sam, In Chinatown, and Harrowsmith Country Life. He has worked across Canada in the development of new Canadian plays. As an actor, he has played roles from Romeo to Prospero, and he has taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Alberta. He spent a decade searching for and then researching this first-person account of the nineteenth-century Chinese experience in North America. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario, with his wife and daughter and spends summers with friends on Salt Spring Island.

Born in 1947, Wanda Joy Hoe translated selections from the diary of her grandfather, Dukesang Wong, for an undergraduate sociology course at Simon Fraser University in the mid-1960s. After serving for many years with Canada’s delegation to UNESCO, she retired and now lives in Ottawa.

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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.

 

The Ride Home
by Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Mark is a city kid who has come to a small town to live with his grandmother after his mom goes into rehab. He has to take a school bus home for the first time. The long, noisy ride home is nothing like riding city transit. There’s some kind of secret code of knowing where you’re allowed to sit, the kids scream non-stop, and there’s pudding and cheese flying through the air. Someone even tries to set Mark’s seat on fire. Mark quickly decides that all these kids are nuts and does his best to avoid interacting with any of them. But when the bus is involved in a serious accident, Mark has to work with a couple of other students to get everybody to safety. He soon learns that he has more in common with these rural kids than he would ever have imagined. In turns funny and heartbreaking, The Ride Home is about learning that not everything is as it seems and that everyone has a story.

AUTHOR BIO: Gail Anderson-Dargatz is an award-winning author of over a dozen books, including The Cure for Death by Lightning and A Recipe for Bees, which were finalists for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. She also teaches other authors how to write fiction. Gail lives in the Shuswap region of British Columbia.

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Just Beyond the Very, Very Far North
by Dan Bar-el, illustrated by Kelly Pousette
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The adventures of Duane the polar bear and his arctic friends continue in this charming sequel to the modern-day classic The Very, Very Far North, which Booklist compared to Winnie the Pooh in a starred review.

Past the place where icebergs shiver, you will find the Very, Very Far North, where Duane and his friends are sure to make you feel right at home. You might like to share a delicious Snow Delight with warmhearted Duane. While you’re slurping away, if C.C. suddenly asks you where you’ve come from, it’s not because she’s nosy; she is simply gathering scientific data. If Handsome, the musk ox, pays a visit, a quick hair combing is highly recommended. Should you notice a quiet caribou grazing nearby, well, that’s just Boo’s way of saying hello.

And if a less-than-friendly visitor arrives to sneak, shove, and shake things up, Duane and the others might discover that life isn’t always as peaceful as mid-late-afternoon nap. Fortunately, they know that change is as much a part of life as picnics and Tuesdays and cozy stories shared among friends.

AUTHOR BIO: Dan Bar-el is an award-winning children’s author, educator, and storyteller whose books include Audrey (Cow), Not Your Typical Dragon, and The Very, Very Far North series. Dan has worked with children ages three to thirteen as a school-age childcare provider, a preschool teacher, a creative drama teacher, and a creative writing teacher. He also teaches with the Creative Writing for Children Society. Dan lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with artist and goldsmith Dominique Bréchault, and Sasha, the most adorable cat in the known universe.

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Genius Jolene
by Sara Cassidy, illustrated by Charlene Chua
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

On her annual trip in her father’s 18-wheeler, eight-year-old Jolene is headed to Los Angeles on a six-day road trip to deliver some newsprint with her dad. Just like last year, they tell each other stories and listen to music. They also keep up their favorite tradition: critiquing one type of food at every stop. This time it’s onion rings.

But this year is also different. Unlike last year, Jolene’s parents are no longer together. They split up when her father came out as gay. These are big changes for Jolene, but she is spunky and smart and has a good heart. She’s ready for new adventures and to stand up for what’s right—both on and off the road.

AUTHOR BIOS: 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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Banksy and Me
by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
Publisher: Puffin Books/Penguin Random House

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A Banksy-style protest against cameras in classrooms brings a group of middle-grade students together. For fans of Rebecca Stead, Susin Nielsen and Gordon Korman.

Dominica’s private school is covered in cameras, and someone is hacking into them and posting embarrassing moments for the whole school to see. Like Ana picking her nose. When Dominica quickly changes her shirt from inside out in what she thinks is the privacy of a quiet corner in the library, she’s shocked — and embarrassed — to discover a video has captured this and is currently circulating amongst her schoolmates. So mortifying, especially since over the past three years, they’ve had a half-dozen school talks about social media safety.

Who has access to the school security cameras and why are they doing this? Dominica and her best friends, Holden and Saanvi, are determined to find out, and in the process start an art-based student campaign against cameras in the classroom.

AUTHOR BIO: Tanya Lloyd Kyi has worked as a typesetter, graphic designer and photo editor before pursing writing full-time. She is the author of Mya’s Strategy to Save the World, as well as many non-fiction titles, including Shadow Warrior, nominated for the ALA’s Amelia Bloomer Project List, and Eyes and Spies: How You’re Tracked and Why You Should Know, which won the Montaigne Medal Award. She is also the author of middle-grade and YA novels, including Anywhere but Here, which was praised by Kirkus as having a main character whose “voice is convincingly filled with a combination of angst and nonchalance,” and The Prince of Pot, shortlisted for the OLA White Pine Award.

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Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health
by Melanie Siebert, illustrated by Belle Wuthrich
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Featuring real-life stories of people who have found hope and meaning in the midst of life’s struggles, Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health is the go-to guide for teenagers who want to know about mental health, mental illness, trauma and recovery. For too long, mental health problems have been kept in the shadows, leaving people to suffer in silence, or worse, to be feared, bullied or pushed to the margins of society where survival is difficult.  

This book shines a light on the troubled history of thinking about and treating mental illness and tells the stories of courageous pioneers in the field of psychiatry who fought for more compassionate, respectful and effective treatments. It provides a helpful guide to the major mental health diagnoses along with ideas and resources to support those who are suffering. But it also moves beyond a biomedical focus and considers the latest science that shows how trauma and social inequality impact mental health. The book explores how mental health is more than just “in our heads” and includes the voices of Indigenous people who share a more holistic way of thinking about wellness, balancing mind, body, heart and spirit. Highlighting innovative approaches such as trauma-informed activities like yoga and hip-hop, police mental health teams, and peer support for youth, Heads Up shares the stories of people who are sparking change.

AUTHOR BIO: Melanie Siebert is a youth and family counsellor in Victoria, British Columbia. She works with people to transform depression, anxiety, trauma and inner conflict into meaning, purpose and hope. She also specializes in suicide intervention and prevention. Melanie has a Master of Social Work and a Master of Fine Arts. Her first poetry collection, Deepwater Vee (McClelland & Stewart), was a finalist for Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Award in 2010.

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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).

 

Princesses versus Dinosaurs
by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Joy Ang
Publisher: Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Two popular storybook titans, princesses and dinosaurs, battle to determine who should star in this laugh-out-loud picture book for fans of Shark vs Train and The Book With No Pictures.

This is a princess book!

No, it’s a dinosaur book!

No, it’s . . . a T. rex book? A dragon book? A rubber ducky book?!

From Linda Bailey, award-winning and critically acclaimed author, and Joy Ang, Adventure Time-artist and illustrator of the Mustache Baby series, comes an irresistibly irreverent picture book in which plucky princesses and determined dinosaurs have a battle royale over whose book this is. When they start calling in the big guns — or rather, the big carnivores — and decide to build a wall to resolve their differences, princesses and dinosaurs alike learn a thing or two about open-mindedness and sharing.

AUTHOR BIO: Linda Bailey is the author of more than two dozen books for children, including the Stevie Diamond mystery series, the Good Times Travel Agency graphic novels, and an eclectic assortment of picture books including If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur and the acclaimed Stanley’s Party. She has won awards across North America such as the California Young Readers’ Medal, the Georgia Storybook Award, the Ontario Blue Spruce and Silver Birch Awards, the Oregon SMART Award and the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada. Born in Winnipeg, Linda has now traveled around the world, and so have her books. She has two grown daughters, Lia and Tess, and lives in Vancouver within strolling distance of the sea.

Joy Ang is an artist who has illustrated many books for children, including the Mustache Baby series by Bridget Heos, the New York Times bestselling Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid, 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath and the upcoming Mulan: The Legend of the Woman Warrior. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art &  Design in 2007. In addition to designing characters for Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Joy is also a cover artist for Marvel Comics and Scholastic’s Wings of Fire and Dogs of the Drowned City series, and has worked as a concept artist for gaming studios Bioware and Blizzard Entertainment.

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Salma the Syrian Chef
by Danny Ramadan
Illustrated by Anna Bron
Publisher: Annick Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Newcomer Salma and friends cook up a heartwarming dish to cheer up Mama.

All Salma wants is to make her mama smile again. Between English classes, job interviews, and missing Papa back in Syria, Mama always seems busy or sad. A homemade Syrian meal might cheer her up, but Salma doesn’t know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices! Luckily, the staff and other newcomers at the Welcome Center are happy to lend a hand—and a sprinkle of sumac.

With creativity, determination, and charm, Salma brings her new friends together to show Mama that even though things aren’t perfect, there is cause for hope and celebration. Syrian culture is beautifully represented through the meal Salma prepares and Anna Bron’s vibrant illustrations, while the diverse cast of characters speaks to the power of cultivating community in challenging circumstances.

AUTHOR BIO: Danny Ramadan is a Syrian-Canadian author, award-winning activist, and public speaker. His debut novel, The Clothesline Swing, won multiple awards. His work in activism provided a safe passage to dozens of Syrian LGBTQ-refugees to Canada. Salma the Syrian Chef is his first book for children. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Illustrator bio: Anna Bron studied traditional animation at Sheridan College. She illustrated the award-winning picture book Salma the Syrian Chef and has animated, designed, and directed commercials and short films. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

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I Talk Like A River
by Jordan Scott
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
Publisher: Neal Porter Books/Penguin Random House Canada

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Book description: I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me.

And I can’t say them all . . .

When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father’s ability to reconnect a child with the world around him.

Poet Jordan Scott writes movingly in this powerful and ultimately uplifting book, based on his own experience, and masterfully illustrated by Greenaway Medalist Sydney Smith. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.

AUTHOR BIO: Jordan Scott is the author of Silt; blert; Decomp, a collaboration with Stephen Collis and ecosphere of British Columbia; and Night & Ox. His chapbooks include Clearance Process and Lanterns at Guantánamo. Both chapbooks treat his experience after being allowed access to Guantanamo Bay in April 2015. Scott was the 2015/16 Writer-in-Residence at Simon Fraser University and the recipient of the 2018 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize for his contributions to Canadian poetry. Scott’s first children’s book, I Talk Like a River, is published by Holiday House / Neal Porter Books and illustrated by Sydney Smith. Scott also works as an editor with Broc Rossell at The Elephants.

Sydney Smith is a Canadian illustrator of children’s books. He was awarded the 2015 Governor General’s Award For Illustrated Children’s Books for Sidewalk Flowers, a wordless picture book which he illustrated with author JonArno Lawson. He currently resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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Beep Beep Bubbie
by Bonnie Sherr Klein
Illustrated by Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal
Publisher: Tradewind

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Kate is upset when her grandma (Bubbie) gets a motorized scooter. Will Bubbie still be Bubbie in that scooter?

Kate slowly warms to the scooter after she sees what a good friend it is to Bubbie. And shopping at Granville Island Market with Bubbie and the scooter turns out to be so much fun! Her little brother Nate loves the scooter’s bells and whistles, and Kate makes new friends on their joyous outing.

AUTHOR BIO: Bonnie Sherr Klein is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer. After suffering a catastrophic brainstem stroke in 1997, she published a best-selling memoir, Slow Dance: A Story of Love and Disability. Soon after, she co-founded KickstART Society for Disability Arts and Culture. Bonnie is a recipient of a Governor General’s Commemorative Medal, and was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband Michael, and moves through the world on Gladys, her motorized scooter.

Élisabeth Eudes-Pascal is a highly acclaimed artist and illustrator and was a finalist for the Governor General Award for Children’s Book Illustration. She was three years old when she first saw her mother draw. Ever since that magic moment, she never stopped creating art. She lives with her husband in Montreal, where she helps intellectually challenged people of all ages draw and paint, loves chocolate almost as much as drawing, and, like Bubbie on her scooter, cycles around town on her bike.

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Grandmother School
by Rina Singh
Illustrated by Ellen Rooney
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Every morning, a young girl walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write. The narrator beams with pride as she drops her grandmother off with the other aajis to practice the alphabet and learn simple arithmetic. A moving story about family, women and the power of education—when Aaji learns to spell her name you’ll want to dance along with her. 

Women in countless countries continue to endure the limitations of illiteracy. Unjust laws have suppressed the rights of girls and women and kept many from getting an education and equal standing in society. Based on a true story from the village of Phangane, India, this brilliantly illustrated book tells the story of the grandmothers who got to go to school for the first time in their lives.

AUTHOR BIO: Rina Singh has published several critically acclaimed books for children inspired by her Indian Canadian heritage, including Diwali Lights, Holi Colors and Diwali: A Festival of Lights, which was nominated for the Red Cedar Award. Rina lives in Toronto.

Ellen Rooney is a designer, artist and children’s book illustrator. Her textural mixed media artwork combines many traditional art techniques, like pencil drawing, painting, printmaking and collage, often combined with digital techniques. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.

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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.

 

The E. J. Hughes Book of Boats
by Robert Amos
Publisher: TouchWood Editions

BOOK DESCRIPTION: Boat lovers of all ages and people who enjoy the scenery of BC’s coast will delight in this charming gift book, a worthy addition to books about BC’s art history.

In the course of his career, one of BC’s most beloved painters, E. J. Hughes (1913–2007), depicted paddle wheelers, steamships, fishing boats, and car ferries. Now The E. J. Hughes Book of Boats brings many of his coastal paintings of boats together in one handsome volume—a book for art lovers and boating enthusiasts alike.

Robert Amos is the official biographer of E. J. Hughes, and works with the participation of the Estate of E. J. Hughes. The Book of Boats follows the success of his two geographically-based volumes, E. J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island (2018) and E. J. Hughes Paints British Columbia (2019). This new compendium features never-before-seen sketches and photographs accompanying full-page illustrations of some of the artist’s finest works.

AUTHOR BIOS: Robert Amos has published eight books on art, including E. J. Hughes Paints British Columbia and E. J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island, and was the arts columnist for Victoria’s Times Colonist newspaper for more than thirty years. Amos was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1995 and is an Honorary Citizen of Victoria. He lives in Oak Bay, British Columbia with his wife, artist Sarah Amos.

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On the Cusp of Contact: Gender, Space and Race in the Colonization of British Columbia
by Jean Barman
Edited by Margery Fee
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

BOOK DESCRIPTION: “The ways in which we can redress the past are many and varied,” writes Jean Barman, “and it is up to each of us to act as best we can.” The seventeen essays collected here, originally published between 1996 and 2013, make a valuable contribution toward this laudable goal. With a wide range of source material, from archival and documentary sources to oral histories, Barman pieces together stories of individuals and groups disadvantaged in white settler society because of their gender, race and/or social class.

Working to recognize past actors that have been underrepresented in mainstream histories, Barman’s focus is BC on “the cusp of contact.” The essays in this collection include fascinating, though largely forgotten, life stories of the frontier—that space between contact and settlement, where, for a brief moment, anything seemed possible.

This volume, featuring over thirty archival photographs and illustrations, makes these important and very readable essays accessible to a broader audience for the first time.

AUTHOR BIO: Jean Barman, Professor Emeritus, has published more than twenty books, including the winner of the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award, Stanley Park’s Secret (Harbour Publishing, 2005). Her lifelong pursuit to enrich the history of BC has earned her such honours as a Governor General’s Award, a George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, a Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing and a position as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She lives in Vancouver, BC.

Margery Fee, Professor Emeritus, has shaped national understanding of Canadian literature, culture and regional and national forms of Canadian English usage. She has recently published Literary Land Claims (Wilfrid Laurier UP, 2015) and Polar Bear (Reaktion, 2019).

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Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak
by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

With bright and bold illustrations by celebrated Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers, this sturdy board book introduces iconic sounds of the West Coast and supports the language development of babies and toddlers. From the the crackle of a beach campfire to the swoosh of canoe paddles, the rustle and creak of cedars in the wind, the roar of sea lions and the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, the rhythmic text, vibrant illustrations and glossy tactile finish of Raven Squawk, Orca Squeak will delight the very youngest readers.

AUTHOR BIOS: Robert (Lucky) Budd holds an MA in history and has digitized many high-profile oral history collections including that of the Nisga’a First Nation. He is the author of Voices of British Columbia (Douglas & McIntyre, 2010), a bestseller which was shortlisted for the 2011 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award, and its sequel, Echoes of British Columbia (Harbour Publishing, 2014). He currently lives in Victoria, BC.

Roy Henry Vickers is a renowned carver, painter, printmaker and storyteller. He is the illustrator and co-author of Harbour Publishing’s popular children’s First West Coast Book series and Northwest Coast Legends series, the latter of which were all shortlisted for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award: Raven Brings the Light in 2014, Cloudwalker in 2015, Orca Chief in 2016 and Peace Dancer in 2017. His other books include Storyteller (Harbour Publishing, 2014) and Voices from the Skeena (Harbour Publishing, 2019). He lives in Hazelton, BC.

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Primary Obsessions
by Charles Demers
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

BOOK DESCRIPTION: The endearing and unflappable Dr. Annick Boudreau regularly confronts a myriad of mental health issues in her psychology practice at the West Coast Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinic in Vancouver, British Columbia. But even Annick is stunned when Sanjay, a young patient who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is arrested for the brutal murder of his roommate. While Sanjay is tortured by repeated violent thoughts, everything Annick knows about her patient and his illness has her convinced that he’s innocent. But the police and prosecutor are convinced that they have caught the perpetrator and aren’t interested in looking very hard. Unable to talk to the authorities because of doctor-patient confidentiality, Annick feels compelled to investigate on her own, finding herself drawn into the darker side of her postcard-perfect city in the process.

Primary Obsessions is the first book in a series of mysteries starring Dr. Annick Boudreau and involving themes of mental health. Author (and longtime CBT patient) Charles Demers deftly reveals a particular aspect of psychology practice in each book, illuminating shadowy subject matter with masterful sensitivity and sharp wit. Primary Obsessions is an engrossing page-turner and a refreshing reboot of the sleuth genre.

AUTHOR BIO: Charles Demers is an author, comedian, actor, playwright, screenwriter and political activist. His collection of essays, Vancouver Special (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009), was shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. He is also the author of Property Values (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2018). He is one of the most frequently returning stars of CBC Radio’s smash-hit comedy The Debaters, with a weekly listening audience of 750,000. Demers lives in Vancouver, BC, where he is working on a second book in the Doctor Annick Boudreau Mystery series, Suicidal Thoughts.

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Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History
by Eve Lazarus
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

 As the author of such BC best-sellers as Cold Case Vancouver, Murder by Milkshake, and Sensational Vancouver, Eve Lazarus has become adept at combining her well-honed investigative skills with an abiding love for her adopted city. These qualities are on full display in her latest book, an exploration of Vancouver’s hidden past through the city’s neighbourhoods, institutions, people, and events.

Vancouver Exposed is a nostalgic romp through the city’s past, from buried houses to nudist camps, from belly-flop contests to eccentric museums. Featuring historic black-and-white and colour photographs throughout, the book reveals the true heart of the city: one that is endlessly evolving and always full of surprises.

With equal parts humour and insight, Vancouver Exposed is a vividly entertaining and informative book that pays homage to the Vancouver you never knew existed.

AUTHOR BIO: Eve Lazarus is a Vancouver writer and podcaster with an Aussie accent and a passion for true crime stories, cold cases, and non-traditional history. She is the author of four Arsenal titles: Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders (2015), a BC bestseller and 2016 finalist for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes; Blood, Sweat, and Fear: The Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver’s First Forensic Investigator (2017); Murder by Milkshake: An Astonishing True Story of Adultery, Arsenic, and a Charismatic Killer (2018); and Vancouver Exposed: Searching for the City’s Hidden History (2020). She is also the author of Sensational Vancouver (2014), , Sensational Victoria: Bright Lights, Red Lights, Murders, Ghosts & Gardens (2012), and her book At Home with History: The Untold Secrets of Greater Vancouver’s Heritage Houses was a 2008 City of Vancouver book award finalist.

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