2004 Winners & Finalists

May 1, 2004 | Government House, Victoria

» 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

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

Sitting Practice
by Caroline Adderson
Publisher: Thomas Allen

Surviving a tragic car accident, newlywed Ross struggles with his guilt over the consequences of his wife’s paralysis and for the imagined life that is now forever lost. He turns to an exploration of Buddhist principles to ease his pain while his wife deals with her new existence as a wheelchair-bound wife.

Caroline Adderson’s first collection of stories, Bad Imaginings, was nominated for the 1993 Governor General’s Award and the 1994 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 1994. She lives in Vancouver.

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by Steven Galloway
Publisher: Knopf Canada

On a wire strung between the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Centre, Salvo Ursari looks down to the crowd of onlookers below as he begins the most dangerous skywalk of his life. So begins this epic story of Salvo’s peripatetic life, which spans seven decades and several countries, much of it encompassing the heyday of the Big Top.

Steven Galloway teaches Creative Writing at UBC. His first novel, Finnie Walsh, was nominated for the Books in Canada/Amazon.com first novel prize. He lives in Vancouver.

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The Continuation of Love by Other Means
by Claudia Casper
Publisher: Penguin

When Alfred moves to Argentina in 1976, his visiting daughter, now in her twenties, is outraged by his military alignment and condoning of torture, even more unfathomable when she contemplates the horrors of his childhood in wartime Germany. Yet she cannot resist the unabashedly sensual, hedonistic life he has created there.

A former typesetter for Vancouver’s Pulp Press (now Arsenal Pulp Press), Claudia Casper is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Reconstruction.  She lives in Vancouver.

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Country of Cold
by Kevin Patterson
Publisher: Vintage Canada

Fleeing small-town life to the big cities of the world and the far corners of Canada, members of Dunsmuir, Manitoba’s class of 1980 attempt to unravel the impossible puzzles of adulthood.

Kevin Patterson grew up in Manitoba, and put himself through medical school by enlisting in the Canadian army. When his service was up, he worked as a doctor in the Arctic and on the coast of BC while studying for his MFA. The author of the bestselling memoir, The Water in Between, he lives on Salt Spring Island.

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Other Sorrows, Other Joys: The Marriage of Catherine Sophia Boucher and William Blake
by Janet Warner
Publisher: St. Martin’s Pres

Set in the tumultuous eighteenth century, this novel weaves fact and fiction to tell the story of Kate Blake, “the perfect wife” of the notoriously strange William Blake. Young and innocent, Kate searches for her identity in the shadow of Blake’s genius—and struggles to understand his bohemian world of unconventional principles, visions, and free love.

Janet Warner, formerly a professor of English at Glendon College, York University, Toronto, is also the author of Blake and the Language of Art. She lives in the Fraser Valley.

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Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

Bill Reid: The Making of an Indian
by Maria Tippett
Publisher: Random House Canada

Like the raven of Haida mythology, Bill Reid reinvented himself several times over. By asking difficult questions about his life and work, and by analyzing the works of other Native artists since the beginning of the twentieth century, Tippett gives the reader the defining portrait of one of Canada’s most enigmatic and beloved artists.

Dr. Maria Tippett is the author of many books on art, culture, and history, most notably the Governor General’s Award-winning Emily Carr: A Biography. She divides her time between England and the Gulf Islands.

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The Gothic Line: Canada’s Month of Hell in World War II Italy
by Mark Zuehlke
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

On August 25, 1944, it fell to I Canadian Corps to spearhead the famed Eighth Army’s major offensive, intended to rip through the Gothic Line. For 28 days, the battle raged until the Canadians won, opening the way for the next phase of the Allied advance. The Gothic Line brings the story of that momentous battle to vivid life by telling the story through the eyes of the soldiers.

Mark Zuehlke is one of BC’s most versatile writers; a specialist in military history, he has started a second career as a mystery novelist. He lives in Victoria.

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High Boats: A Century of Salmon Remembered
by Pat Wastell Norris
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

High Boats is a celebration of—and an elegy for—the golden age of the West Coast fishery. Through careful research, a priceless personal trove of photographs, and sharp, earthy prose, Norris wraps the history of coastal settlements around the lives of two veteran fishermen taking their boat for one last trip.

Pat Wastell Norris is the author of Time and Tide: A History of Telegraph Cove (Raincoast Chronicles 16) and the bestselling High Seas, High Risk: The Story of the Sudburys. She now lives in Vancouver.

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The Man Who Mapped the Arctic
by Peter Steele
Publisher: Raincoast Books

George Back went on three Arctic expeditions under Sir John Franklin, searching for the mythical Northwest Passage while opening up the vast barren lands of the Canadian north. But unlike Franklin, Back lived to tell his tales and left behind an inspirational legacy of journals, drawings, watercolours and maps. From these sources emerges a story of endurance and resilience in the face of appalling odds.

Peter Steele is a surgeon and mountaineer. His previous books include Doctor on Everest and Eric Shipton, which won the Boardman Tasker Prize. He lives in Whitehorse.

Where the Mountain Casts Its Shadow: The Dark Side of Extreme Adventure
by Maria Coffey
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Without risk, say mountaineers, there would be none of the self-knowledge that comes from pushing life to its extremes. But when tragedy strikes, what happens to the people left behind? Through interviews with the world’s top climbers, or their widows and families, Coffey explores what compels men and women to give their lives to the high mountains.

Maria Coffey is the author and co-author of 10 books, including Fragile Edge, an account of her relationship with the mountaineer Joe Tasker and his death on Everest. She lives in Nanaimo.

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Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Taking the Names Down from the Hill
by Philip Kevin Paul
Publisher: Nightwood Editions

A WSÁ,NEC Indian from the Saanich Peninsula, Paul’s oral tradition and life perspective are as old as the hills themselves, but their addition to Canadian poetry is long awaited. With a remarkable ability to present the natural world infused with wonder and mystery, his lyric narratives invite the reader to ponder the bigger questions.

Philip Kevin Paul has previously been published in Breathing Fire: Canada’s New PoetsAn Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English (Oxford), and BC Studies. Paul lives on his family’s titled land in Brentwood Bay.

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The Alchemy of Happiness
by Marilyn Bowering
Publisher: Beach Holme

In her latest work, Bowering blends a variety of personalities, times, and places that add up to an overall substance she sees as happiness. Like an alchemist of old, she transmutes experiences, perceptions, and perspectives into something richer and rarer despite the passage of years and the loss they have brought.

Marilyn Bowering has had two volumes of poetry nominated for the Governor General’s Award: Autobiography and The Sunday Before Winter.  Her novel Visible Worlds received the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize. She lives in Sooke.

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The Creature I Am
by Denise Cammiade
Publisher: Sono Nis

With colour illustrations by Jenny Munro, Cammiade’s first and last book offers a piercing insight of creatures human and otherwise; of the forgotten meaning in waves, birds, and everyday moments.

Denise Cammiade lived in Victoria and worked at Munro’s Books for 30 years. Her poetry appeared in the Vintage anthology and The Malahat Review and, in 1990, she won the Millen Award for “Instrumental Sestina.” She died suddenly in November 2002 at the age of 53, before the publication of her only book.

Jenny Munro is a painter who lives in Toronto.

House Built of Rain
by Russell Thornton
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Thornton writes about extremes: the moment of conception and the moment of death, tranquil forests and smoky urban bars, abuse and tenderness. His latest collection takes us on a journey of human experience, from the yearning of a child to the sorrow of an adult losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s.

Russell Thornton’s poems have appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies and he is the winner of several poetry prizes, including first prize in the League of Canadian Poets National Contest in 2000. He lives in North Vancouver.

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Ursa Major
by Robert Bringhurst
Publisher: Gaspereau Press

Using Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Bloomfield’s Sacred Stories of the Sweet Grass Cree, and the night sky as his primary sources, Bringhurst sounds out cultural variations on the myth of the great bear constellation in four languages: English, Latin, Greek, and Cree.

Robert Bringhurst is an internationally recognized poet, linguist, and typographer who is well known for his translations of the works of Haida storytellers, notably Ghandl’s Nine Visits to the Mythworld, which was nominated for the inaugural Griffin Poetry Prize in 2001. He lives on Quadra Island.

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Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Building the West: The Early Architects of British Columbia
by Donald Luxton
Publisher: Talonbooks

With more than 600 photographs, Building the West celebrates the early architects of BC, illustrating their lives and careers, from before the 1858 Gold Rush.

Donald Luxton is a Director of the Heritage Vancouver Society, the Victoria Heritage Foundation, and the Vancouver Heritage Conservation Foundation. Building the West received a Heritage Canada Foundation and the Heritage Society of BC Achievement Award in 2003. His book Lions Gate won several heritage awards, as well as the City of Vancouver Book Prize.

Firestorm: The Summer BC Burned
by Ross Freake and Don Plant
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

In 2003, more than 2,500 fires destroyed 264,433 hectares of forest and 334 homes in BC’s Interior. More than 50,000 people were evacuated. With material supplied by Interior newspaper reporters and photographers, Freake and Plant have written an authoritative book, complete with 140 photographs to detail the battles fought by volunteer and professional firefighters from across the country.

A freelance writer, Ross Freake is a former managing editor of the Kelowna Daily CourierCambridge Reporter, and Kamloops Sentinel and has worked at newspapers across the country.

Don Plant is a staff reporter at the Kelowna Daily Courier.

The Jade Coast: Ecology of the North Pacific Ocean
by Rob Butler
Publisher: Key Porter

With more than 30 years of research, Butler explains and explores the interconnected-ness of wind, weather, tides, and wonderfully bizarre creatures, by taking the reader on a journey far offshore, to rocky headlands, along sand beaches, over mudflats, and finally to river estuaries.

A senior research scientist with Environment Canada’s Canadian Wildlife Service and adjunct professor of Biological Sciences at SFU, Rob Butler is the author or co-author of about 100 scientific publications, and is best known for his work on shorebird migration and heron ecology. He lives in Vancouver.

Natural Light: Visions of British Columbia
by David Nunuk
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Natural Light is a spectacular, jaw-dropping collection of Nunuk’s best photographs of BC in all its moods, accompanied by his often wry observations about the settings and his unorthodox methods of capturing them.

David Nunuk worked as a tree planter, diamond driller, and prospector, among other jobs, before becoming a professional photographer 12 years ago. Currently shooting for the First Light Agency, he is syndicated worldwide and has been featured in such magazines as Canadian GeographicDiscoverOutsideNatureBritish Geographical, and the Sunday Telegraph. He lives on a farm in the Fraser Valley.

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The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, 1577–1580
by R. Samuel Bawlf
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

This gripping sea adventure and investigative chronicle shows with certainty that Drake sailed all the way to Alaska, in search of the western entrance to the fabled Northwest Passage. His voyage was in fact so far ahead of its time that it was another 200 years before eighteenth-century explorers reached the Northwest Coast of North America.

R. Samuel Bawlf is a geographer and former minister in the Government of BC responsible for historic and archaeological sites, and coastal ferry service. He lives on Salt Spring Island.

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Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize

by Dennis Foon
Publisher: Groundwood Books

Four guys in the last year of high school. Tommy, model student, is heading for the military to learn to fly fighter jets; his best friend, Brad, is being scouted for Junior B hockey; Andy’s got an audition for the “punk” role that could launch his acting career. All he needs is someone who can show him the moves, so he turns to Shane, the kid who is so scary that even the teachers are afraid of him.

Dennis Foon is an internationally acclaimed playwright, director, author, and writer for film and television. He lives in Vancouver.

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The Canning Season
by Polly Horvath
Publisher: Groundwood Books

Up north for the summer at the secluded house of aged relatives, Ratchet Clark is treated to strange family stories, local lore, and a new philosophy: whatever shows up on your doorstep you have to let in. Despite her reservations, Ratchet discovers that unwelcome guests may bring the greatest gifts.

Polly Horvath’s acclaimed young adult books include When the Circus Came to Town and The Trolls, which won a Boston Globe National Book Award and was a National Book Award Finalist. She lives in Metchosin.

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Dancing Elephants and Floating Continents
by John Wilson
Publisher: Key Porter

The Story of Canada Beneath Your Feet . . . and what a story! The characters are entire continents—moving around the surface of the Earth, crashing into each other, crushing islands, raising mountain ranges, and opening and closing vast oceans—and the plot is nothing less than the formation of the planet on which we live. Filled with full colour illustrations, this is an educational and just plain cool view of the ground we stand on.

John Wilson is a former geologist and the author of more than a dozen successful fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. He lives in Nanaimo.

The Several Lives of Orphan Jack
by Sarah Ellis
Publisher: Groundwood Books

In his years at the Opportunities School for Orphans, Jack has skipped over trouble, danced around trouble, slid under trouble, melted away from trouble, talked his way out of trouble, and slipped between two close troubles like a cat through a picket fence. When Jack turns 12, he is given the biggest opportunity of all, but suddenly his life is nothing but trouble.

Sarah Ellis is a children’s librarian in Vancouver, as well as the author of several award-winning books, including the Governor General’s Award-winning Pick-Up Sticksand Out of the Blue.

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Tapestry of Hope: Holocaust Writing for Young People
by Irene N. Watts and Lillian Boraks-Nemetz
Publisher: Tundra Books

This extraordinary anthology, which includes poetry, prose, and firsthand accounts, reveals the heartbreak, courage, and hope that define one of history’s darkest hours.

Irene N. Watts is a Vancouver storyteller, playwright, and director, as well as the author of Good-bye MarianneRemember Me, and Finding Sophie, about the Kindertransport.

Lillian Boraks-Nemetz is a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto. Her experiences are reflected in her poetry collection, Ghost Children, and in her Slava Trilogy, The Old Brown SuitcaseThe Sunflower Diary, and The Lenski File. She lives in Vancouver.

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Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

Stanley’s Party
by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Publisher: Kids Can Press

Stanley is a good dog, but one night, while his people are away, the temptation becomes too great and he sneaks up onto the couch. What a wonderful experience! Soon he’s also blasting the music, dancing around the living room, and raiding the fridge—Stanley’s never had so much fun! But after a couple of weeks something is missing, and Stanley realizes that partying alone has lost its thrill.

Linda Bailey is best known for her well-loved Stevie Diamond mysteries, which are set in the neighbourhood of Kitsilano, where Linda lives.

Bill Slavin has illustrated more than 50 children’s books and lives in the village of Millbrook, Ontario.

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Adventures in Ancient China
by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Publisher: Kids Can Press

Join the Binkertons as they return to the Good Times Travel Agency—and end up knee-deep in an ancient Chinese rice paddy! This engaging mix of adventure and historical information about life in China during the first century A.D. has a contemporary comic-book look to delight children and adults alike.

Linda Bailey has published more than a dozen books for children and is one of Canada’s most recognized writers for young people. She lives in Vancouver.

Based in Millbrook, Ontario, Bill Slavin is an award-winning illustrator best known for his work on children’s books.

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Arizona Charlie and the Klondike Kid
by Julie Lawson
Illustrated by Kasia Charko
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Dawson City, Yukon: 1899. Ben longs to be a Wild West star just like the famed Arizona Charlie, so when he invites Ben to perform his lasso tricks at the Palace Grand, the boy can’t believe his luck.

Julie Lawson learned of Arizona Charlie in 1998 when she lived in Dawson City. She has written more than 20 books for children of all ages. Her first novel, White Jade Tiger, won the Sheila Egoff Award in 1994.

Kasia Charko spent 20 years as an advertising and magazine illustrator, and now works exclusively for children’s publications. She lives in Alton, a small village west of Toronto.

Suki’s Kimono
by Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
Publisher: Kids Can Press

A gift from her obachan, Suki’s blue cotton kimono holds special memories of her grandmother’s visit last summer. And Suki is going to wear it on her first day back to school—no matter what anyone says.

A second-generation Japanese-Canadian who began her writing career at age seven, publishing her family newspaper, Chieri Uegaki honed her skills in the UBC Creative Writing program. This is her first picture book, inspired by her relationship with her grandmother. She lives in Sechelt.

Stéphane Jorisch is a multiple award-winning illustrator based in Montreal.

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by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman
Publisher: Simply Read Books

Sunny wakes up one morning to the familiar sounds of his wonderful world. Inspired by what they hear, he and his friends invent their own playful brand of music and, before long, they get down to a hootenanny time. With puppet figures designed and photographed by Mitchell and Steedman, Sunny has a fresh, modern style.

Robin Mitchell is a recent graduate from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and a founding member of the design group Picnic.

Judith Steedman is the principal of Steedman Design, a graphic design studio in Vancouver.

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Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award

The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, 1577–1580
by R. Samuel Bawlf
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

This gripping sea adventure and investigative chronicle shows with certainty that Drake sailed all the way to Alaska, in search of the western entrance to the fabled Northwest Passage. His voyage was in fact so far ahead of its time that it was another 200 years before eighteenth-century explorers reached the Northwest Coast of North America.

R. Samuel Bawlf is a geographer and former minister in the Government of BC responsible for historic and archaeological sites, and coastal ferry service. He lives on Salt Spring Island.

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From the Wheelhouse: Tug Boaters Tell Their Own Stories
by Doreen Armitage
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Author and historian Armitage interviewed 16 old-time tugboat captains, engineers, and deckhands to assemble this intimate and often hair-raising account of life aboard BC tugs. Beautifully illustrated with archival photos and images from the personal collections of the skippers who appear within its pages, From the Wheelhouse is both a lively, personal look at the history of towboating in BC and an engaging portrait of the famous coastal characters and vessels that have shaped this region’s maritime history.

Doreen Armitage has lived in the Vancouver/Howe Sound area for 27 years.

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Full Moon, Flood Tide: Bill Proctor’s Raincoast
by Bill Proctor and Yvonne Maximchuk
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

In this indispensable companion for travellers around Northern Vancouver Island and its environs, Proctor pays tribute to the pioneers who wrested a livelihood from forest and sea even as he makes a passionate plea to preserve the wilderness.

A former fisher, trapper, and logger, Bill Proctor has in the past 10 years become a passionate environmental activist. He has lived in the area for more than 60 years.

Yvonne Maximchuk is an artist, writer, and naturalist living in Echo Bay.

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Natural Light: Visions of British Columbia
by David Nunuk
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Natural Light is a spectacular, jaw-dropping collection of Nunuk’s best photographs of BC in all its moods, accompanied by his often wry observations about the settings and his unorthodox methods of capturing them.

David Nunuk worked as a tree planter, diamond driller, and prospector, among other jobs, before becoming a professional photographer 12 years ago. Currently shooting for the First Light Agency, he is syndicated worldwide and has been featured in such magazines as Canadian GeographicDiscoverOutsideNatureBritish Geographical, and the Sunday Telegraph. He lives on a farm in the Fraser Valley.

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Painter, Paddler: The Art and Adventures of Stewart Marshall
by Andrew Scott
Publisher: Touchwood Editions

For much of the past two decades, Stewart Marshall has travelled hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles in a hand-built kayak, living off the land and the sea and painting on some of BC’s most remote shorelines.

Born in Montreal, Stewart Marshall now lives in the coastal village of Sointula. Painter, Paddler features his dramatic paintings and drawings paired with descriptions of the artist’s many adventures.

Andrew Scott’s award-winning book Secret Coastline: Journeys Along BC’s Shores was on the BC Bestseller List for 21 weeks. He lives in Half Moon Bay.

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Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence

Supported by The Honourable Lieutenant Governor of BC

P. K. (Patricia Kathleen) Page

Inaugural recipient of The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence: P.K. (Patricia Kathleen) Page

The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence was established in 2003 by the Honourable Iona Campagnolo to recognize British Columbia writers who have contributed to the development of literary excellence in the Province.

P. K. Page was selected by an independent jury consisting of three prominent figures from the British Columbia literary community.

P. K. Page is one of this country’s outstanding writers and poets. She has published over twenty books and long been recognized internationally. In 2001, her poem “Planet Earth” was selected by the United Nations as a centrepiece of a year-long Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry for international broadcast by satellite. Her paintings are less well known, signed with her married name of Irwin. Her art hangs in permanent collections at the National Gallery and in the art galleries of Ontario, Vancouver, Victoria, and Windsor. Among her awards are: six honorary doctorates; Officer of the Order of Canada, 1977; Companion of the Order of Canada, 1999; and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal, 2002. In the Spring of 2004, she was also the recipient of the Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award for an Outstanding Literary Career in British Columbia.

“’Balance is inner, centred in the keep,’ writes P. K. Page in her poem, “The Castle.” Her own keep is prodigious and ever growing. She shapes the balances within this keep, its secluded corners, its darkness and radiance, the might of a tree, children playing. In her keep the ethereal meets the raw, friendship confronts memory, the sources of creativity engage the natural world, responsibility encounters play and each brings the other into balance. For forty years in British Columbia she has generously shared her experiences and experiments in that keep with her fellow writers, especially oncoming generations of new writers, and with her readers. Her prose, by turns serious, sensual and funny, always thoughtful, bringing us insight into the human mind and into the life of nations, together with her tough, witty, and passionate poetry, make her the natural recipient of this inaugural Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.”
— Jury member George Szanto

Her Honour The Honourable Iona Campagnolo presented the inaugural award to P. K. Page at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prize Gala, held at Government House in Victoria on Saturday, May 1st, 2004.