B.C. writers score four big wins
November 09th, 2017
Author of thirty books, the indefatigable Daniel Francis (right) of North Vancouver is this year’s winner of the prestigious Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media which will be presented in Rideau Hall, Ottawa, on November 22, by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada. Francis also worked for years as the chief editor for The Encyclopedia of British Columbia. For more on Daniel Francis’ extensive output, visit ABCBookWorld.
After appearing on the cover of B.C. BookWorld‘s Autumn 2017 issue, Giller-nominated Eden Robinson has won the $50,000 Writers Trust Fellowship for a body of work. David Stouck’s influential review of her winning novel, Son of a Trickster, can be found here. In-depth interview. Also visit ABCBookWorld.
A contemporary adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf, Hiro Kanagawa’s play Indian Arm (Playwrights Canada 2016) will be accorded the Governor General’s Award Award from Canada’s new Governor General on November 29th in Ottawa. At the end of Burrard Inlet, past Deep Cove, at the remote end of the inlet long known as Indian Arm, we are introduced to an isolated family “engulfed by the secrets and contradictions of their lives and of the land they live on as their stories are drawn inexorably toward an unspeakable tragedy.” The story proceeds to unravel connections between the white family and indigenous families.
And Vancouver-based Cree/Metis author, visual artist, and illustrator Julie Flett has done it again. She’s won yet another major literary prize — this time it’s a Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literatue for When We Were Alone (HighWater Press / Portage & Main Press) with text by David Alexander Robertson.
When We Were Alone by Flett and Robertson is about a young girl who helps tend to her grandmother’s garden, but begins to notice things about her grandmother that make her curious. Why does her grandmother have long braided hair and wear beautifully coloured clothing? Why does she speak another language and spend so much time with her family? As she asks her grandmother about these things, she is told about life in a residential school a long time ago, where everything was taken away. When We Were Alone is a story ultimately about empowerment and strength.
Flett’s When We Were Alone had already won the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award; received Honourable Mention for the Alcuin Society Children’s Award; was chosen for CCBC Choices 2017 picture books for school-age children best-of-the-year list by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center; was selected by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre for Best Books for Kids & Teens and signified as a title of exceptional caliber; and as was designated one of Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year.
When We Were Alone is also a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award organized by The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. This annual literary award is worth $30,000. The award will be announced in Toronto on November 21, 2017. Other books nominated by B.C. authors are The Skeleton Tree (Tundra Books) by Gabriola Island’s Iain Lawrence; A Day of Signs and Wonders by Victoria’s Kit Pearson. Also nominated are Tokyo Digs a Garden (Groundwood Books) by Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka; The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk (Groundwood) by Jan Thornhill.
Julie Flett latest book is Black Bear Red Fox: Colours in Cree Board book (Garfinkel Publications). Black Bear Red Fox is a detailed explanation of how colour words work in Cree, from the Cree Literacy Network.
For more on Julie Flett’s extensive list of other literary prizes she’s won, visit ABCBookWorld.
ALSO: Born in Jamaica, Lorna Goodison of Halfmoon Bay is currently within her three-year term as the Poet Laureate of Jamaica. Author of eight books of poetry, two collections of short stories and an award-winning memoir, From Harvey River: A Memoir of My Mother and Her People. Goodison was among 90 contributors to the first national anthology to focus solely on poetry by African Canadians, Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry ($21.95), also featuring B.C.’s Wayde Compton and Tanya Evanson.
Sonja Larsen is the winner of the 2017 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for her memoir, Red Star Tattoo: My Life as a Girl Revolutionary (Random House Canada, 2016). Red Star Tattoo is the story of Sonja Larsen’s unconventional and transient youth, as well as her personal experience in counterculture organizations, including her association with a clandestine wing of the Communist Party of USA. Established and endowed by writer and award-winning journalist Edna Staebler in 1991, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award. The $10,000 award encourages and recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance.