Thanh & Ruurs triumph
October 12th, 2017
Yasuko Thanh has won the 14th annual, $5,000, City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains (Hamish Hamilton) presented by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and sponsor Brian Butler. In Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, Thanh transports readers into a Vietnam filled with chaotic streets, teeming marketplaces, squalid opium dens and angry ghosts. Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains previously won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and was nominated for the Amazon.ca First Novel Award. Previous to winning the Journey Prize for her short story “Floating Like the Dead” in 2009, Thanh earned her living as a busker, an opium dealer, a cleaner of goat pens, a bed & breakfast operator, a housekeeper, and a panhandler. Yasuko Thanh has also completed her Bachelor of Arts as well as a Master’s of Fine Arts at the University of Victoria. And she screams in the punk band 12 Gauge Facial. The awards gala was held at the Union Club of British Columbia and was emceed by journalist Jo-Ann Roberts.
As well, Margriet Ruurs has won the 10th annual, $5,000 Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize for Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey (Orca Book Publishers) presented by sponsor Samantha Holmes of Bolen Books. Inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr that she discovered on the internet, Ruurs made contact and they agreed to collaborate for a story about a family fleeing from the ravages of civil war. With only what they can carry on their backs, they set out to walk to freedom in Europe. Born in The Netherlands, Ruurs, of Saltspring Island, is herself widely travelled—and now her book has gone global. Foreseen as a charity fundraiser by Orca Books, Stepping Stones continues to attract new versions in a wide variety of languages and countries, generating more than $65,000 for support of organizations that help refugees adapt to life in North America.