Victoria Book Prize winners
October 12th, 2023
For her 11th title, Pauline Holdstock (at right) has won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for Confessions with Keith: From the Journals of Vita Glass (Biblioasis, 2022) in which a mother and writer goes through a mid-life crisis at the same time as her husband, as told in her journal. Publicity for the book prize describes it as “an outrageously comic fiction novel.”
The story has its roots in Holdstock’s life. “I did actually keep a journal through some of the rocky years of raising a family and this voice began to creep in,” says Holdstock. “It was Vita’s voice, this sort of pretense of being in control. Rather than sitting down at a desk to open a journal and bursting into tears, which I could have done at times, I had this persona of Vita who would look at things as if it was all perfectly manageable. And so, I got quite fond of Vita and used to make a point of writing in her voice and that would entertain me.” Years later, Holdstock re-read some of her journals and realized she had the framework for a novel. “Vita could have all sorts of adventures and misadventures within this framework. So, I started working on that.”
The winner of the City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize was illustrator Julie
McLaughlin for Little Pine Cone: Wildfires and the Natural World (Orca, 2022) that features “beautifully detailed illustrations that integrate science with storytelling,” says publicity. “Children will enjoy finding new bits of information with every read.” McLaughlin’s illustrations accompany writing by meteorologist, Johanna Wagstaffe.
An award–winning freelance illustrator, Julie McLaughlin currently resides on Vancouver Island. She graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design with a Bachelor of Design in 2006 and has since worked for a variety of editorial, advertising and publishing clients from around the world.
Established in 2004, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is a partnership between the City of Victoria and Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies. It is awarded to a Greater Victoria author for the best book published in the categories of fiction, non–fiction or poetry.
The City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize recognizes and celebrates exceptional literature for children and young adults and is awarded to a Greater Victoria author or illustrator for the best children’s book. The prize was established in 2008 by the late Mel Bolen of Bolen Books.
The prizes each come with a purse of $5,000.