Alan Twigg’s tribute to Rudolf Vrba

Rudolf Vrba, who escaped Auschwitz and co-authored a report saving 200,000 lives, remains unrecognized in Vancouver despite his significant historical impact. Alan Twigg (l.) seeks to change this.” FULL STORY


BC Book Prizes shortlist announced

March 09th, 2016

Two books for this year’s BC Book Prizes have been nominated in more than one category: The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan (Rocky Mountain Books 2015) by Briony Penn (pictured at right); and Orca Chief (Harbour Publishing 2015) by Robert Budd in collaboration with First Nation artist and illustrator Roy Henry Vickers — who provided the Book Prizes with its distinctive logo many years ago.

Vickers, Roy with Prizes logo

Roy Vickers & logo

Penn’s book vies for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional prizes. The book from Robert Budd/Roy Henry Vickers is nominated in the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s  Literature prize and Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice award. Orca Chief is the third in a series of bestselling Northwest Coast legends, featuring brilliant illustrations by Roy Henry Vickers. In this captivating tale, the great Orca Chief compassionately teaches people on the coast how to treat the ocean’s resources in a sustainable way.


A pioneer of community mapping, Briony Penn of Salt Spring Island is a writer, artist and lecturer who holds a Ph.D. in geography from Edinburgh University.

Replete with photographs from various stages of Ian McTaggart-Cowan’s remarkable life, Briony Penn’s  biography, The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan, is touted as the first official biography of “the father of Canadian ecology”. There are two accepted spellings of Ian Mctaggart-Cowan (1910–2010). Penn prefers his last name without a hyphen.

Authorized by McTaggart-Cowan’s family, her book was completed with the support of the University of Victoria. Ian McTaggart-Cowan’s milestones were many: he was the founder of the first Canadian university wildlife department and his early work in Canada’s national parks became the basis for wildlife conservation and environmental education. McTaggart-Cowan addressed issues from climate change to endangered species before these topics were on the public’s radar. He was also the forerunner of David Suzuki in that he popularized science on television in British Columbia.


The shortlisted authors in each of the seven categories are:

Hawley, Alix vertical

Alix Hawley

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize awarded to the author of the best work of fiction:

  • Alix Hawley, All True Not a Lie in It (Knopf Canada)
  • Pauline Holdstock, The Hunter and the Wild Girl (Goose Lane Editions)
  • Irina Kovalyova, Specimen (House of Anansi Press)
  • Nasreen Pejvack, Amity (Inanna Publications)
  • Anakana Schofield, Martin John (Biblioasis)

Ruebsaat, Rika and Jon Bartlett

Rika Ruebsaat and Jon Bartlett

Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize to recognize the author(s) of the book that contributes most to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia:

  • Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat, Soviet Princeton: Slim Evans and the 1932–33 Miners’ Strike (New Star Books)
  • Gwen Curry, Tod Inlet: A Healing Place (Rocky Mountain Books)
  • Derrick Stacey Denholm, Ground-Truthing: Reimagining the Indigenous Rainforests of BC’s North Coast (Caitlin Press)
  • Briony Penn, The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan (Rocky Mountain Books)
  • John Thistle, Resettling the Range: Animals, Ecologies, and Human Communities in British Columbia (UBC Press)

Shenher, Lori

Lori Shenher

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize awarded to the author of the best original non-fiction literary work:

  • Brian Brett, Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and A Scattershot World (Greystone Books)
  • Briony Penn, The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan (Rocky Mountain Books)
  • Lori Shenher, That Lonely Section of Hell: The Botched Investigation of a Serial Killer Who Almost Got Away (Greystone Books)
  • Maria Tippett, Made in British Columbia: Eight Ways of Making Culture (Harbour Publishing)
  • Emily Urquhart, Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes (HarperCollins Publishers)

Pearson, Miranda 4

Miranda Pearson

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize awarded to the author of the best work of poetry:

  • Ali Blythe, Twoism (Goose Lane Editions)
  • Amber Dawn, Where the words end and my body begins (Arsenal Pulp Press)
  • Raoul Fernandes, Transmitter and Receiver (Nightwood Editions)
  • Miranda Pearson, The Fire Extinguisher (Oolichan Books)
  • Jeff Steudel, Foreign Park (Anvil Press)

Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize presented to the best illustrated book written for children:

Roy Henry Vickers

  • Song for a Summer Night: A Lullaby, by Robert Heidbreder, illustrated by Qin Leng (Groundwood Books)
  • The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle, by Jude Isabella, illustrated by Simone Shin (Kids Can Press)
  • Peace is an Offering, by Annette LeBox, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin (Dial Books)
  • This Is Sadie, by Sara O’Leary, illustrated by Julie Morstad (Tundra Books)
  • Orca Chief, by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers (Harbour Publishing)

Nielsen, Susin 3

Susin Nielsen

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize awarded to the best non-illustrated book written for children:

  • Linda Bailey, Seven Dead Pirates (Tundra Books)
  • Darren Groth, Are You Seeing Me? (Orca Book Publishers)
  • Susan Juby, The Truth Commission (Razorbill)
  • Susin Nielsen, We Are All Made of Molecules (Tundra Books)
  • Jordan Stratford, The Case of the Missing Moonstone (The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency, Book 1) (Knopf Books for Young Readers)

Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award presented to the originating publisher and author(s) of the best book in terms of public appeal, initiative, design, production, and content:

Caroline Woodward

Caroline Woodward

  • Caroline Adderson, John Atkin, Kerry Gold, Evelyn Lau, Eve Lazarus, John Mackie, Elise & Stephen Partridge, and Bren Simmers with an introduction by Michael Kluckner and photographs by TraceyAyton and Caroline Adderson, Vancouver Vanishes: Narratives of Demolition and Revival (Anvil Press)
  • Eve Lazarus, Cold Case Vancouver: The City’s Most Baffling Unsolved Murders (Arsenal Pulp Press)
  • Susan Musgrave, A Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World (Whitecap Books)
  • Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd, Orca Chief (Harbour Publishing)
  • Caroline Woodward, Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper (Harbour Publishing)


The winners in the seven categories above will be announced at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala on Sat, April 30, 2016 at Government House in Victoria. British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Judith Guichon, OBC, will be in attendance.

Also, at the Gala, the recipient of the 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence will be presented (announcement date March 23). This award 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.

Tickets online starting Monday, March 14.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • About Us

    BC BookLook is an independent website dedicated to continuously promoting the literary culture of British Columbia.