2009 Winners & Finalists

The West Coast Book Prize Society is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2009 BC Book Prizes. Congratulations to the authors and their publishers!

Winners announced April 25, 2009 | emcee Alan Twigg | Marriott Pinnacle

» 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

Supported by Friesens and Webcom
Judges: Caroline Adderson, Richard Hopkins, and James Irvine

The Man Game
by Lee Henderson
Publisher: Penguin Group (Canada)

On a recent Vancouver Sunday afternoon, a young man stumbles upon a secret sport invented more than a century before, at the birth of his city. In 1886, out of the smouldering ashes of the great fire that destroyed much of the city, a former vaudeville performer and two lumberjacks invent a new sport that will change the course of the fledgling city’s history. Thus begins The Man Game, Lee Henderson’s epic tale of loved requited and not, that crosses the contemporary and historical in an extravagant, anarchistic retelling of the early days of a pioneer town on the edge of the known world.

Lee Henderson is the author of the award-winning short story collection The Broken Record Technique and is a contributing editor to the arts magazines Border Crossings and Contemporary. He lives in Vancouver.

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The Cellist of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway
Publisher: Knopf Canada

Set during the siege of Sarajevo, the Cellist of Sarajevo tells the story of three of the city’s inhabitants: a female sniper who calls herself Arrow; Kenan, a dutiful father; and Dragan, a baker on his way to work. Connecting them is the cellist, who plays each afternoon in a crater left by a mortar shell in front of his building where twenty-two people were killed while waiting to buy bread. The cellist vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albinoni’s Adagio once a day for each of the twenty-two victims. The Adagio had been re-created from a fragment after the only extant score was firebombed in the Dresden Music Library, but the fact that it had been rebuilt by a different composer into something new and worthwhile gives the cellist hope.

Steven Galloway is the author of Finnie Walsh and Ascension. He teaches creative writing at UBC and SFU, and lives with his family in New Westminster, BC.

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Red Dog, Red Dog
by Patrick Lane
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.

An epic novel of unrequited dreams and forestalled lives, Red Dog, Red Dog is set in the mid-1950s, in a small town in the interior of B.C. in the unnamed Okanagan Valley. The novel focuses on the Stark family, centering on brothers Eddy and Tom, who are bound together by family loyalty and inarticulate love. Filled with moments of harrowing violence and breathtaking description, of shattering truths and deep humanity, Red Dog, Red Dog is about the legacies of the past and the possibilities of forgiveness and redemption.

Patrick Lane is the author of 21 books of poetry, and has received many awards for his writing, including the Governor General’s Award for Poetry (1979), the Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry (1988), and two National Magazine Awards. Lane lives near Victoria with poet Lorna Crozier.

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Renovating Heaven
by Andreas Schroeder
Publisher: Oolichan Books

Hilarious, bizarre and heart-breaking by turns, these three novellas of Mennonite life in Canada from the 1950s to the 1970s fill in the gap between Rudy Wiebe’s Of This Earth (a generation older) and Miriam Toews’ A Complicted Kindness (a generation younger). Leaving Germany with little more than their 16th century Anabaptist faith and lifestyle to guide them, Andreas Schroeder’s family settles on a small Fraser Valley farm in British Columbia and proceeds to try making sense of the perplexing mores and values of “The English” who surround them.

Andreas Schroeder is the author of twenty books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, translations, journalism and literary criticism. His books have won or been shortlisted for many awards including the Governor General’s Award, the Stephen Leacock Award, the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Non-Fiction and the Red Maple Award. He lives in Roberts Creek on BC’s Sunshine Coast with his wife, Sharon Oddie Brown.

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That Tune Clutches My Heart
by Paul Headrick
Publisher: Gaspereau Press

On the eve of her first day of senior high, May Sutherland’s mother gives her a diary in which to record her experiences. It’s 1948 and the entire student body at Magee High in Vancouver is divided according to their preference for Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra. After losing her two best friends overnight, May struggles between her disdain for the debate and her loneliness as one of only a handful of neutrals. In the often hilariously rigid turns of phrase with which May records her misunderstandings and attempts at maturity, Headrick captures the inner life of a good girl coming of age.

Paul Headrick lives in Vancouver with his partner, novelist Heather Burt. He teaches literature and creative writing at Langara College and his work has been published in numerous journals, including The Malahat Review and The Antigonish Review.

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Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

Supported by Abebooks
Judges: Robert Brighurst, Barbara Jo May, and Jan Whitford

In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
by Gabor Mate, MD
Publisher: Knopf Canada

In this timely and profoundly original new book, bestselling writer and physician Gabor Maté looks at the epidemic of addictions in our society, tells us why we are so prone to them and what is needed to liberate ourselves from their hold on our emotions and behaviours. He proposes a compassionate approach to helping drug addicts and, for the many behaviour addicts among us, to addressing the void addiction is meant to fill.

For over seven years Gabor Maté has been the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a residence and harm reduction facility in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

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Dry Spring: The Coming Water Crisis of North America
by Chris Wood
Publisher: Raincoast Books

The globe is running out of water. Lakes, aquifers and rivers disappear, but we consume more than ever. Many fast-growing places—the U.S. Southwest, B.C.’s Okanagan, the Great Lakes area—face deadly scarcity. Yet even as the world dries, some parts are getting more violently stormy. Dry Spring tells dramatic stories of floods and droughts that will worsen over the next 25 years. Chris Wood shows that Canada overall will get more water—and America less. He calls provocatively upon Canada to find solutions and opportunities jointly with the U.S. And he describes inspiring choices by which we can save this precious resource for our future.

Journalist and former Maclean’s editor Chris Wood has written in the Globe and Mail, the Financial Post, the Walrus, the Tyee and has won two Gold National Magazine Awards for his work. He is the co-author of Blockbusters and Trade Wars, shortlisted for the Donner Prize.

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Going Home: Essays
by Tim Lilburn
Publisher: House of Anansi Press

Tim Lilburn has long been a deep thinker on issues of ecology and writing, and on how the two fit together philosophically, morally, and ethically. In Going Home, Lilburn addresses how we relate (often uneasily) to our physical landscape in Canada and the United States. Surprising and enlightening, the collection finishes with two unforgettable personal essays, where Lilburn writes about his effort to enact desire in the place where his ancestors are buried, the flatlands and coulees of southern Saskatchewan. Masterful and timely, Going Home is a wake-up call for the whole of North America to the fact that our “home” is endangered because of the way we live in it.

Tim Lilburn is a poet and essayist, and the author of six books of poems, including Kill-siteTo the River, Moosewood Sandhills, and most recently, Orphic Politics. He has been nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award twice. Lilburn lives in Victoria, BC, where he teaches at the University of Victoria.

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The Jesus Sayings: The Quest for His Authentic Message
by Rex Weyler
Publisher: House of Anansi Press

Jesus never said he was the son of God, he made no mention of the devil, and he didn’t instruct his followers to wait for their reward in the eternal afterlife. Today, many people are shocked by these sober conclusions of modern biblical scholarship. So what did Jesus teach?  In The Jesus Sayings, writer and religion commentator Rex Weyler provides a fresh and provocative view of Jesus’ message and his mission. Weyler uses the latest scholarship applied to the complete range of sources to bring this astounding and important message to the general reader in a way that is entertaining, inspiring, and enlightening.

Rex Weyler is the critically acclaimed author of Blood of the Land, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and Greenpeace: The Inside Story, which was a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political Non-fiction and the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.  He lives in Vancouver.

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What is America? A Short History of the New World Order
by Ronald Wright
Publisher: Knopf Canada

Brimming with insight into history and human behaviour, and written in Ronald Wright’s captivating style, What Is America? shows how this came to pass; how the United States, which regards itself as the most modern country on earth, is also deeply archaic, a stronghold not only of religious fundamentalism but of “modern” beliefs in limitless progress and a universal mission that have fallen under suspicion elsewhere in the west, a rethinking driven by two World Wars and the reckless looting of our planet.

Ronald Wright is the internationally acclaimed author of A Scientific Romance, winner of Britain’s David Higham Prize for Fiction. His other major bestsellers include Time Among the Maya and Stolen Continents, and an acclaimed collection of travel pieces, Home and Away. He lives on Salt Spring Island, BC.

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Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

Supported by the BC Teachers’ Federation
Judges: Margaret Gunning, Evelyn Lau, and Billeh Nickerson

The Given
by Daphne Marlatt
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.

Daphne Marlatt’s haunting and multi-layered long poem reads with all the urgency and depth of a novel. Set in present-day and 1950s Vancouver, The Given begins with the news of a mother’s death, then opens up to become an intricate tapestry of lives, as Marlatt deftly interweaves the past with the present, replicating the arc of memory itself, while questing for — and questioning — the meaning of home and identity. In luminous, deeply resonant fragments, Marlatt resoundingly answers the drive to live with deep attention in a now that is, for all of us, “tangled in the past.”

Daphne Marlatt is known for her formally innovative books of poetry, including StevestonTouch to My TongueSalvage, and This Tremor Love Is. She is also the author of two acclaimed novels, Ana Historic and Taken. She lives in Vancouver.

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Chameleon Hours
by Elise Partridge
Publisher: House of Anansi Press

Chameleon Hours, Elise Partridge’s follow-up to her much-admired Fielder’s Choice, is evidence that lyric poetry— clean, bracing, unadorned— truly can be equal to challenging subject matter. In these poems, love for friends, family, and partners, and most impressively, the urge to love strangers in need, kindles the fire of the voice. Partridge’s poems see the world in its particulars, and offer a kind of fidelity to small and contingent details. Even in the gathering of responses to the poet’s own struggle with cancer, the poems cling to this world through a tenacious intermingling of image and cri de coeur. In doing so, they give us a steadiness of vision, an uncluttered song that reminds us we live among treasures.

Elise Partridge’s 2002 debut poetry collection, Fielder’s Choice, was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poems in Canada. She is an editor and teacher in Vancouver.

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Shirin and Salt Man
by Nilofar Shidmehr
Publisher: Oolichan Books

Shirin and Salt Man is a novella in verse, which tells the story of a young modern day Iranian woman, Shirin. She is an ordinary girl from Kermanshah born before the Islamic Revolution, who imagines herself to be an incarnation of princess Shirin, depicted in the ancient Persian classic Shirin and Khosro. At first she tries to shape her life to that of the myth, but later decides to change her destiny and become the author of her own story. The poems form a compelling narrative of the life of a contemporary Iranian woman who reclaims a place for herself as a lover and teller of stories in an environment where only men have the authority for fashioning and telling stories.

Nilofar Shidmehr was born and raised in Iran, and has lived in Canada since 1997. She holds an MFA degree in creative writing from the University of British Columbia.

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Vancouver: A Poem
by George Stanley
Publisher: New Star Books

Vancouver: A Poem is George Stanley’s vision of the city where he lives, though he does not call it his own. Vancouver, the city, becomes Stanley’s palimpsest: an overwritten manuscript on which the words of others are still faintly visible. Here the Food Floor’s canned exotica, here the stores of Chinatown, here the Cobalt Hotel brimful of cheap beer and indifferent women. The poet travels through the urban landscape on foot and by public transit, observing the multifarious life around him, noting the at times abrupt changes in the built environment, and vestiges of its brief history.

George Stanley, the author of five books of poetry including A Tall, Serious GirlAt Andy’s and Gentle Northern Summer, was the 2006 recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. He lives in Vancouver.

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Water Strider
by Karen Hofmann
Publisher: Frontenac House Ltd.

Water Strider speaks of tensions, surfaces and dualities. It is about our jerky imperfect pairings: with our parents, siblings, lovers; with our pasts and our landscapes; with language, memory, and longing; and with our elusive and illusory selves. It explores the fragility of narrative and perception, the dicey boundaries that are part of love and identity, and the thin membrane between anguish and humour.

Karen Hofmann grew up in the Okanagan Valley, completed a BA and MA at the University of Victoria, and now teaches English and creative writing at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, British Columbia. She lives at the edge of a former pine forest with her husband, many children and small animals, and the constant fear that she has forgotten to do something important.

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Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Judges: Janis McKenzie, Joseph Stewart, and Eric Swanick

Simon Fraser: In Search of Modern British Columbia
by Stephen Hume
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Journalist and poet Stephen Hume followed in Fraser’s footsteps and canoe wake for four years. He studied fading maps and diaries in archives across North America, interviewed the descendants of people who aided Fraser and retraced Fraser’s route across British Columbia’s vast and varied landscape. This is the story of diligent research and reconstruction of his route, the rigours of early nineteenth-century travel and the peoples and places he saw and recorded.

A journalist for over 35 years, Stephen Hume was editor-in-chief at the Edmonton Journal before moving to BC to become columnist and feature writer for the Vancouver Sun. He has won more than a dozen awards for his poetry, essays, and journalism.

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Hope in Shadows: Stories and Photographs of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
by Brad Cran and Gillian Jerome
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

For each of the past five years, Pivot Legal Society’s annual Hope in Shadows photography contest has empowered residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside by providing them with 200 disposable cameras to document their lives―thus giving them an artistic means to enter the ongoing and often stormy dialogue over the place they call home. Hope in Shadows offers readers an intimate and honest look at what it really means to live in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood. The result is not at all bleak, but rather is full of grace, dignity, and plain simple truths that put a human face on the single most misunderstood community in Canada.

The Peace: A History in Photographs
by Donald A. Pettit
Illustrated by Barbara Swail
Publisher: Peace photoGraphics Inc.

The Peace features three hundred historic photographs, with maps and illustrations brought to the printed page for the first time. Discover the exciting history of this unique northern region: explorers and First Nations, homesteaders and paddle wheelers. From horse to automobile and from lamp to electric light, this collectors’ edition book tells the amazing story of the last area in North America to be homesteaded: the beautiful Peace River Country.

The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in Canada’s Polygamous Mormon Sect
by Daphne Bramham
Publisher: Random House Canada

The Secret Lives of Saints paints a troubling portrait of an extreme religious sect. These zealous believers impose severe and often violent restrictions on women, deprive children of education and opt instead to school them in the tenets of their faith, defy the law and move freely and secretly over international borders. They punish dissent with violence and even death. No, this sect is not the Taliban, but North America’s fundamentalist Mormons. In addition to their unorthodox interpretation of the more mainstream Christian denominations, the Mormons embraced one tenet in particular that others found hard to accept: the idea that only by engaging in polygamous marriage could a man enter the highest realms of the kingdom of heaven.

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Voices from the Sound: Chronicles of Clayoquot Sound and Tofino 1899–1929
by Margaret Horsfield
Publisher: Salal Books

Set against a background of rapid social and economic change, Voices from the Sound examines the years 1899 to 1929 on the west coast. Discovered in long-forgotten letters, diaries and scraps of memoir, these “voices” tell their own stories in their own words, revealing in vivid detail what it was like to live on the west coast in the early 1900s. Voices from the Sound is based on thousands of first-hand documents, written by people in the area.

From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, Margaret Horsfield lived in England, where she worked as a freelance broadcaster for BBC Radio. She also contributed several series to CBC Radio’s “Ideas”, and freelanced widely as a print journalist. In 1993, she settled in Nanaimo and turned to writing books. She is the author of six non-fiction books, three about the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

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Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize

Supported by the BC Library Association
Judges: Janice Douglas, James Heneghan, and Tonya Martin

My One Hundred Adventures
by Polly Horvath
Publisher: Groundwood Books

My One Hundred Adventures tells us how Jane, happy though she is, suddenly feels a kind of itchy restlessness and sets out deliberately to make her life more exciting by having one hundred adventures. She compels her best friend, Ginny, to join her. Some of the adventures are spectacular, others are gentler; and slowly over the summer, Jane begins to figure out more about her family, friends, and life in general.

Polly Horvath has written many books for children and young adults. She has won numerous awards including a National Book Award, Newbery Honor, Toronto Dominion Award, International White Raven, Canadian Library Association’s Young Adult Book of the Year, short-listed for Germany’s most prestigious literature award, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, the Writer’s Trust Vicky Metcalfe Award for her body of work, and many others.

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by Graham McNamee
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books, distributed by Random House of Canada

Danny’s dad takes a job as caretaker at a marina on the shore of a vast, frozen lake in Harvest Cove, a tiny town tucked away in Canada’s Big Empty. If you’re looking for somewhere to hide, this is it. It’s the worst winter in years. One night, running in the dark, Danny is attacked by a creature so strange and terrifying he tries to convince himself he was hallucinating. Then he learns about Native American legends of a monster that’s haunted the lake for a thousand years. And that every generation, in the coldest winters, kids have disappeared into the night. People think they ran away. Danny knows better. Because now the beast is after him.

Graham McNamee works at the Vancouver Public Library. His novel Hate You is an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and his novel Sparks won the PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship.

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The Lit Report
by Sarah N. Harvey
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Julia and Ruth have been unlikely best friends since they first met in Sunday school—Ruth was standing on the Bible-crafts table belting out “Jesus Loves Me.” Now that they’re a year away from graduation, they’re putting the finishing touches on their getaway plans. But their dream of a funky big-city loft and rich, interesting older men is threatened when preacher’s daughter Ruth goes to a wild party without studious Julia, and all hell breaks loose.

Sarah N. Harvey writes for both children and young adults. Some of her books have been translated into Korean, French, German, and Slovenian. She lives in Victoria, BC, where she works as a children’s book editor.

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The Séance
by Iain Lawrence
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, distributed by Random House of Canada

Scooter King understands illusions. In the midst of the Roaring Twenties, he performs them behind the scenes at his mother’s séances, giving the impression that Madam King communicates with the dead. Scooter also admires Harry Houdini and can hardly wait to see the famed magician escape from his razzle-dazzle Burmese Torture Tank. But when Scooter stumbles upon a dead body in the visiting Houdini’s tank, it’s no illusion.

A Thousand Shades of Blue
by Robin Stevenson
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

A sailing trip to the Caribbean might sound great, but sixteen-year-old Rachel can’t stand being trapped on a small boat with her family. She misses her best friend and feels guilty about leaving her older sister Emma, who lives in a group home. Her father is driving her crazy with his schedules and rules, her brother is miserable, and there is never anyone her own age around. Worst of all, there is nowhere to go when her parents fight. While their boat is being repaired, the family spends a few weeks in a small Bahamian community, where Rachel and Tim discover a secret which turns their world upside down and threatens to destroy the fragile ties that hold their family together.

Robin Stevenson is the author of twenty books for kids and teens. Her novels include The World Without Us and The Summer We Saved the Bees, as well as the Silver Birch Award-winner Record Breaker, and the Governor General’s Award finalist, A Thousand Shades of Blue. She lives in Victoria, BC.

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Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

Supported by Kate Walker and Company
Judges: Ron Jobe, Kari-Lynn Winters, and Bonne Zabolotney

The King Has Goat Ears
by Katarina Jovanovic
Illustrated by Philippe Beha
Publisher: Tradewind Books

Have you ever had a secret that you knew you shouldn’t share, but the burden of keeping silent was so great you just had to let it out? This is the struggle that Igor, the young apprentice of Miro (the only barber left in the kingdom), experiences after he cuts King Boyan’s hair, and astutely responds to the king that his prominent, goat ears “look just fine.” Released back to his village, it is not Igor’s intention to betray the king’s secret to his subjects. And so, in a creative turn that draws upon an ancient Serbian folktale, author Katarina Jovanovic (who now resides in Vancouver but who worked for many years in children’s programming for Serbian radio) relieves Igor of the burden of his secret by having him dig a hole in a meadow, shout his secret into it, and cover up the hole again. Surely this can’t be good for Igor.

Katarina Jovanovic is a writer, teacher, journalist and award-winning poet originally from Belgrade. She worked for many years in children’s broadcasting and now lives in Vancouver, BC.

Philippe Beha is an internationally acclaimed artist. He studied fine arts in Strasbourg, France. A member of the prestigious Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, he has illustrated more than 100 books for children. He lives in Montreal, QC.

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Good-bye Marianne
by Irene N. Watts
Illustrated by Kathryn E. Shoemaker
Publisher: Tundra Books

In Good-bye Marianne, life for eleven-year-old Marianne Kohn, a young Jewish girl, begins to crumble. First there was the burning of the neighbourhood shops. Then her father, a mild-mannered bookseller, must leave the family and go into hiding. No longer allowed to go to school or even sit in a café, Marianne’s only comfort is her beloved mother. This fictional account of hatred and racism speaks volumes about both history and human nature.

Irene Watts was one of the 10,000 Jewish children who were sent from Nazi Europe to Britain in the Kindertransport rescue operation in 1938; her moving autobiographical novel personalizes what it was like to be a Jewish child in Berlin at the time.

Kathryn E. Shoemaker is the illustrator of over thirty books for children and the author of four books for teachers. She has been the recipient of many awards.

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Polar Worlds: Life at the Ends of the Earth
by Robert Bateman
Publisher: Scholastic Canada Ltd.

Through fascinating images and illustrations, Robert Bateman provides us with a window to the animals of our poles. Discover arctic wolves, polar bears, penguins, whales, seals and more. You will be fascinated by the great facts and Robert Bateman’s rich paintings and sketches.

Robert Bateman’s artwork has received international critical acclaim and has attracted an enormous following around the world. His talent has been recognized with the Order of Canada and he has also been the subject of three books and six films. His dedication as a naturalist and artist has allowed Robert to transfer his abilities to children’s books.

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Rosie and Buttercup
by Chieri Uegaki
Illustrated by Stéphane Jorisch
Publisher: Kids Can Press

From the perfectly paired creative team who brought you the bestselling Suki’s Kimono comes a charming picture book about two sisters. Before Buttercup came along, Rosie’s life was blessed. Her schedule was filled with dance and voice lessons. Best of all, she didn’t have to share her pet crickets, Eenie and Meenie, with anybody. Things get so bad that Rosie decides to give her little sister away — to a good home, of course. But as she says good-bye to Buttercup forever, Rosie can’t ignore a squeezy feeling in her chest. Rosie and Buttercup addresses sibling problems and brings to light that, while a younger sister can sometimes be a pain, having a little sister around can be loads of fun.

Stanley At Sea
by Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Bill Slavin
Publisher: Kids Can Press

It’s picnic time in the park — but not for Stanley. He knows he’s not supposed to beg, but his people are always eating. And Stanley is always hungry! After he’s told to “get,” Stanley wanders down by the river where he runs into Alice, Nutsy and Gassy Jack. Soon their keen noses lead them to a delicious treat on a small boat with no people in sight. When the boat’s mooring comes loose, they float away with the current down the river, under a bridge and then out to sea!

Linda Bailey‘s books have been honored with multiple awards, including the Silver Birch, the Blue Spruce, the Georgia Picture Storybook Award, the California Young Reader Medal, the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize, and the Arthur Ellis Award from the Crime Writers of Canada.

Bill Slavin has illustrated over one hundred children’s books, fiction and nonfiction, including Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey, winner of the 2004 Blue Spruce Award, the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize, and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award.

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Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award

Supported by the BC Booksellers’ Association and Duthie Books
Judged by members of the BC Booksellers’ Association

Madness, Betrayal and the Lash: The Epic Voyage of Captain George Vancouver
by Stephen Bown
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

From 1792 to 1795, George Vancouver sailed the Pacific waters as captain of a major expedition of discovery and imperial ambition and valiantly charted four thousand miles of coastline from California to Alaska. His voyage was one of history’s greatest feats of maritime daring, scientific discovery, marine cartography and international diplomacy. Vancouver’s triumph, however, was overshadowed by bitter smear campaigns initiated by enemies which destroyed his reputation. In this gripping tale of maritime daring and betrayal, Stephen Bown offers a long-overdue re-evaluation of one of the greatest explorers of the Age of Discovery. Bown, a resident of Canmore, Alberta, is the author of the internationally acclaimed Scurvy: How a Surgeon, a Mariner and a Gentleman Solved the Greatest Medical Mystery of the Age of Sail and A Most Damnable Invention: Dynamite, Nitrates and the Making of the Modern World.

Stephen R. Bown is the author of many critically acclaimed, award-winning titles, including most recently White Eskimo (Douglas & McIntyre, 2015), which was the winner of the 2016 William Mills Prize for Non-Fiction Polar Books. Bown lives in the Canadian Rockies.

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British Columbia: Spirit of the People
by Jean Barman
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

British Columbia: Spirit of the People is ambitious in scope. Noted historian Jean Barman delves into the region’s history, from the first humans to arrive in British Columbia twenty thousand years ago to the promises and hopes of the twenty-first century, including the first contact between Indigenous peoples and newcomers; the legacy of the fur trade and gold rush; the contributions of immigrant cultures; the development of communities and urban centres and the flourishing of the arts. A rich selection of archival images depicting the province’s past are paired with iconic and stunning colour photographs capturing the diversity of the modern landscape.

Jean Barman lives in Vancouver and is the author of ten previous books, including the bestseller The Remarkable Adventures of Portuguese Joe Silvey and winner of the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Prize, Stanley Park’s Secret.

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Flight of the Hummingbird: A Parable for the Environment
by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Publisher: Greystone Books

The hummingbird parable, with origins in the Quechuan people of South America, has become a talisman for environmentalists and activists who are committed to making meaningful change in the world. In this inspiring story, the determined hummingbird, the symbol of wisdom and courage, demonstrates that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Feature essays by two of the world’s most influential leaders, Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Kenya who launched the Green Belt Movement, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, are teamed with artwork by internationally renowned artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. His distinct and lively Haida Manga style engages perfectly with this inspirational story that encourages every individual to act on behalf of the world’s limited and precious resources.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas challenges native stereotypes through illustrative story telling. His artwork is informed by many years of dedication to public service and political activism, mostly on behalf of the Haida. Yahgulanaas lives on Bowen Island.

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Following the Curve of Time: The Legendary M. Wylie Blanchet
by Cathy Converse
Publisher: TouchWood Editions

M. Wylie “Capi” Blanchet was a woman ahead of her time. Widowed and the mother of five children, Capi and her family cruised the beautiful islands and channels of Desolation Sound, the Broughton Archipelago and areas further north along the West Coast in a small boat during the 1920s-30s. The Curve of Time, Blanchet’s resulting book, remains a bestseller and a classic in the annals of nautical literature, but little is known about the rest of Blanchet’s life. In Following the Curve of Time, Cathy Converse retraces Capi’s travels to remote anchorages, First Nations villages and scenic locations along the rugged BC coastline to learn more about the life of this enigmatic woman who has kept readers and boaters captivated for decades.

Cathy Converse is the author of Mainstays: Women Who Shaped BC and co-author of The Remarkable World of Frances Barkley 1769-1845.

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Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent
by Andrew Nikiforuk
Publisher: Greystone Books

In Tar Sands, journalist Andrew Nikiforuk exposes the disastrous environmental, social, and political costs of the tar sands and argues forcefully for change. Combining extensive scientific research and compelling writing, Nikiforuk takes the reader to Fort McMurray, home to some of the world’s largest open-pit mines, and explores this twenty-first-century pioneer town from the exorbitant cost of housing to its more serious social ills. He uncovers a global Deadwood, complete with rapturous engineers, cut-throat cocaine dealers, aimless bush workers, American evangelicals, and the largest population of homeless people in northern Canada.

Andrew Nikiforuk‘s journalism has won seven National Magazine Awards since 1989 and top honors for investigative writing from the Association of Canadian Journalists. His first book, Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil, won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction in 2002. He lives in Calgary, AB.

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Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence

Supported by The Honourable Lieutenant Governor of BC
2009 Jury: Ellen Godfrey, author and former literary publisher; David Hill, Manager of Munro’s Books, Victoria; and Sheryl MacKay, host of CBC’s North by Northwest.

Terry Glavin

Terry Glavin is the author of six books and co-author of four, traversing a variety of subjects from anthropology to natural history. Terry is the editor of Transmontanus Books, an adjunct professor in the creative writing department at the University of British Columbia and a frequent contributor to newspapers and magazines as diverse as Democratiya (UK), Lettre International (Berlin), the Vancouver ReviewSeed Magazine (US) and the National Post. His most recent book, Waiting for the Macaws and Other Stories from the Age of Extinctions (Penguin Canada), has been published under separate titles in Canada, the US, the United Kingdom and Germany. His literary awards include the Hubert Evans Prize for non-fiction, and his essays have earned more than a dozen national and regional awards in a variety of categories, including travel writing, science writing and editorial innovation. He lives in Victoria.

“Terry Glavin, author and journalist, is an outspoken British Columbian, a science writer, an avocational historian and a conservationist. He is well known for his passionate commitment to the oral literature of British Columbia’s First Nations, the untold stories of the working class and the relationships between the human imagination and the diverse landscapes west of the Rocky Mountains.

His first book, A Death Feast in Dimlahamid, was a landmark work, set in the struggle of the Gitksan and Wet ‘suwet’en people to assert their fundamental rights. Death Feast was followed by other books that explored the ecological, social and cultural life of BC’s coastal, interior and remote communities. The Last Great Sea offered a human history of the “haunted seas” of the North Pacific Ocean. His latest book, his sixth, Waiting for the Macaws, explores the relationships between the massive global extinction of plants and animals and the collapse in the diversity of the world’s languages and cultures.

In addition to his books, Glavin’s many articles and essays on social and political issues are evidence of his strong journalistic ability to marshal facts and his unwillingness to go with the accepted wisdom of either the right or the left. In his role as an iconoclast, he is a critical voice in the dialogue that sustains a civil society.

As an editor, Glavin has also brought us the innovative and courageous Transmontanus series, published by New Star Books. Established in 1992 with the aim of expanding the boundaries of long-form literary journalism,  this innovative series of 17 titles has given voice to authors and ideas that might otherwise have been lost to us.

Glavin offers an extraordinarily holistic vision that does not focus on single issues, but instead in everything he writes shows us a world where culture and nature, human aspiration, natural beauty, language, history and social justice are inextricably intertwined.

We are privileged to honour him with the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2009, for his contribution to life and letters in British Columbia and for his willingness to show us how to see our world more deeply, more fully and more truthfully.” — Jury member Ellen Godfrey