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


Book Prizes born anew

April 05th, 2019

Running the BC Book Prizes is no cake walk.

It’s an easy way to make friends. It also paves the way for making a few enemies. Everyone who doesn’t get their book title nominated feels aggrieved. It’s just human nature. So for every book or author that gets a slice of the limelight, there are fifty more who might gripe.

In the old days, nearly everyone in the book community used to show up for the gala dinner because it was a communal celebration. But over the years the competitive aspect of the bun toss has held sway; now, most attendees are people pertaining to the nominated books (authors, publishers and well-wishers). To keep attendance up, under the long-serving previous exective director Bryan Pike, the number of short-listed books per category was increased from three nominees to five, and the number of prizes was increased, although the money per prize remained stagnant.

Holding sway nearly twenty years, Pike was successful in expanding the outlook of the prizes by introducing a public readings program that took some nominees outside of the Lower Mainland for school visits, etc. But recently the annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence — that enabled the organization to gather for dinner at Government House every three years — has mysteriously disappeared from the agenda. And then Pike himself took an exit.

All of which sets the stage for the incoming executive director, Sean Cranbury, a well-liked veteran of organizing literary events. Cranbury created Books on the Radio in 2009, a monthly radio show and podcast that airs on Simon Fraser University’s CJSF 90.1 FM.

In 2010, Cranbury founded the Real Vancouver Writers’ Series to celebrate the literary arts during the Vancouver Olympics. The series, which Cranbury helps to organize and co-hosts, continues to treat Vancouver audiences to four curated readings a year.

“I look forward to making myself available to the entire writing and publishing community in B.C. and Yukon to listen to and consult with anybody who wants to talk about who we are and what we should be doing moving forward,” he says.

“We are going to cultivate a shared and collaborative approach to taking our message out into the writing and publishing communities locally, nationally and globally,” he adds.

Cranbury’s commitment to books and writing began with jobs at independent bookshops like Vancouver’s Duthie Books and Sophia Books, among others. He has since served on book publishing advisories and juries. He helped plan and deliver the 2014 National Forum on the Literary Arts, sponsored by the Canada Council for the Arts. His years as a presenter and facilitator for the Surrey International Writers’ Conference won him a special achievement award from the Surrey Board of Trade in 2015.

This year’s gala will be held on Saturday the 11th of May, 2019, at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront in Vancouver. Tickets are still available to the public.

35th Annual BC Book Prizes Gala Tickets on Sale!

Here are this year’s nominees:

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize

Dear Evelyn
by Kathy Page

Born between the wars on a working-class London street, Harry Miles wins a scholarship and a chance to escape his station, but discovers instead that poetry is what offers him real direction. While searching for more of it he meets Evelyn Hill on the steps of Battersea Library. The two fall in love as the world prepares once again for war, but their capacity to care for each other over the ensuing decades becomes increasingly tested. 

Kathy Page is the author of ten previous books, two of which, Paradise & Elsewhere (2014) and The Two of Us (2016), were nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Other works include Alphabet, a Governor General’s Award finalist in 2005, The Story of My Face, and Frankie Styne and the Silver Man.

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Sodom Road Exit
by Amber Dawn
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

It’s the summer of 1990, and Crystal Beach in Ontario has lost its beloved, amusement park, leaving the lakeside village a virtual ghost town. It is back to this fallen community Starla Mia Martin must return to live with her overbearing mother after dropping out of university. But an economic downturn, mother-daughter drama, and Generation X disillusionment soon prove to be the least of Starla’s troubles: a mysterious force begins to dog Starla; inexplicable sounds in the night and unimaginable sights spotted on the periphery. Soon enough, Starla must confront the unresolved traumas that haunt Crystal Beach. 

Amber Dawn is the author of the novels Sodom Road Exit and Sub Rosathe Vancouver Book Award-winning memoir How Poetry Saved My Life, and Where the words end and my body begins.

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That Tiny Life
by Erin Frances Fisher
Publisher: House of Anansi Press

In settings that range from the old American West to pre-revolutionary France, from a present-day dig site in the high tablelands of South America to deep space, That Tiny Life is a wide-ranging and utterly original collection of short fiction and a novella that examines the idea of progress — humanity’s never-ending cycle of creation and destruction. 

Erin Frances Fisher’s stories have been published internationally in literary journals such as Granta, PRISM International, the Malahat Review, and Little Fiction. She was the winner of the RBC Writers’ Trust of Canada Bronwen Wallace Emerging Writers Award, The Malahat Review’s Open Season Award for Fiction, and PRISM International’s Short Fiction Grand Prize. She is working on her first novel. She lives in Victoria, B.C.

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Trickster Drift
by Eden Robinson
Publisher: Knopf Canada

In an effort to keep all forms of magic at bay, Jared, 17, has quit drugs and drinking. But his troubles are not over: now he’s being stalked by David, his mom’s ex–a preppy, khaki-wearing psycho And his mother, Maggie, a living, breathing badass, can’t protect him because he’s moved away from Kitimat to Vancouver for school. As the son of a Trickster, Jared is a magnet for magic. When the David situation becomes a crisis, Jared can’t ignore his true nature any longer. This is the second book in the Trickster trilogy. 

Eden Robinson has matriarchal tendencies. Doesn’t have a pressure cooker, but knows how to jar salmon. Her smoked salmon will not likely kill you. Be warned, she writes novels and tends to be cranky when interrupted. 

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We All Need to Eat
by Alex Leslie
Publisher: Book*hug Press

We All Need to Eat is a collection of linked stories that revolves around Soma, a young Queer woman in Vancouver. Through thoughtful and probing narratives, each story chronicles a sea change in Soma’s life. Lyrical, gritty, and atmospheric, Soma’s stories refuse to shy away from the contradictions inherent to human experience, exploring one young person’s journey through mourning, escapism, and the search for nourishment. 

Alex Leslie is the author of the short story collection People Who Disappear (2012) which was nominated for the 2013 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction and a 2013 ReLit Award, as well as a collection of prose poems, The things I heard about you (2014), which was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroestch Award for Innovative Poetry. 

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Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize

A Matter of Confidence: The Inside Story of the Political Battle for BC
by Rob Shaw and Richard Zussman
Publisher: Heritage House

British Columbia’s political arena has always been the site of dramatic rises and falls, infighting, scandal, and come-from-behind victories. However, no one was prepared for the historic events of spring 2017, when the Liberal government of Christy Clark, one of the most polarizing premiers in recent history, was toppled. A Matter of Confidence gives readers an insider’s look at the overconfidence that fuelled the rise and fall of Clark’s premiership and the historic non-confidence vote that defeated her government and ended her political career.  

Rob Shaw has covered the BC legislature since 2009, first as the legislative reporter for the Victoria Times Colonist and currently as the legislative columnist for the Vancouver Sun. His stories have appeared in local and national newspapers through the Postmedia News chain 

Richard Zussman is a legislative reporter with Global BC. Before joining Global he held positions with City TV in Edmonton and the Sun News Network and was a provincial affairs reporter for CBC British Columbia. He lives in Victoria, BC.

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Jan in 35 Pieces: A Memoir in Music
by Ian Hampton
Publisher: Porcupine’s Quill

In his memoir, Jan in 35 Pieces, acclaimed cellist Ian Hampton recounts his years of music and camaraderie, ably capturing his life-long dedication to the history and culture of classical musical performance. Structured as if it were a concert, the book revolves around thirty-five compositions that have influenced the course of Ian’s long career. 

Ian Hampton is an acclaimed cellist, educator and administrator. After stints with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Edinburgh String Quartet, he taught at a number of American institutions, before moving to Canada to become principal cellist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Ian is a founding member of the Purcell String Quartet and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and Artistic Director Emeritus of the Langley Community Music School. 

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Just Let Me Look at You
by Bill Gaston
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton

Sons clash with fathers, sons find reasons to rebel. And, fairly or unfairly, sons judge fathers when they take to drinking. But Bill Gaston and his father could always fish together. Returning to the past in his old fishing boat, Bill unravels his father’s relationship with his father, it too a story marked by heavy drinking, one that took a much darker turn. A  Sons clash with fathers, sons find reasons to rebel. And, fairly or unfairly, sons judge fathers when they take to drinking. 

Bill Gaston is the author of seven novels and seven collections of short fiction, as well as a book of poems and a memoir. His fiction has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award. His novel, The World, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. 

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Land of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road
by Kate Harris
Publisher: Knopf Canada

Kate Harris realized that the career she most craved -that of a generalist explorer had gone extinct. So she vowed to become a scientist and go to Mars. To pass the time before she could launch into outer space, Kate set off by bicycle down a short section of the fabled Silk Road. Eventually, she quit the laboratory and hit the Silk Road again, this time determined to bike it from the beginning to end. Weaving adventure with the history of science and exploration, Lands of Lost Borders explores the wildness of a world that can never be fully mapped. 

Kate Harris is a writer with a knack for getting lost. Her writing has appeared in Outside, The Walrus, Canadian Geographic, and The Georgia Review, among other publications. 

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The Woo Woo
by Lindsay Wong
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

Lindsay Wong grew up with a paranoid schizophrenic grandmother and a mother who was deeply afraid of the “woo-woo” — Chinese ghosts who come to visit in times of personal turmoil.  

The eccentricities take a dark turn, and when Lindsay starts to experience symptoms of the woo-woo herself, she wonders whether she will suffer the same fate as her family. The Woo-Woo is both a witty and touching memoir about the Asian immigrant experience and a harrowing and honest depiction of the vagaries of mental illness.

Lindsay Wong is a writer work has appeared in No Tokens, The Fiddlehead, Ricepaper, and Apogee Journal. She is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including from The Studios of Key West, Caldera Arts, and the Historic Joy Kogawa House. 

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Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

beholden, a poem as long as the river
by Fred Wah and Rita Wong
Publisher: Talonbooks

Comprised of two lines of poetic text flowing along a 114-foot-long map of the Columbia River, this powerful image-poem by acclaimed poets Fred Wah and Rita Wong presents language yearning to understand the consequences of our hydroelectric manipulation of one of North America’s largest river systems.  

Fred Wah has written seventeen books of poetry. His book is a door received the BC Book Prize, Waiting For Saskatchewan received the Governor-General’s Award and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry. Diamond Grill won the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction, and his collection of critical writing, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, received the Gabrielle Roy Prize. Wah was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2012. He served as Canada’s Parliamentary Poet Laureate from 2011 to 2013.

Rita Wong is the author of monkeypuzzle,forage, sybil unrest (with Larissa Lai), undercurrent, and perpetual (with Cindy Mochizuki), as well as the co-editor of downstream: reimagining water (with Dorothy Christian).

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Our Familiar Hunger
by Laisha Rosnau
Publisher: Nightwood Editions

Our Familiar Hunger is a book about the strength, will, struggle and fortitude of generations of women and how those relationships and knowledges interact, inform, transform and burden. These poems are memories of reclaimed history and attempts at starting over in a new place. They are the fractured reality of trickle-down inheritance, studies of the epigenetic grief we carry and the myriad ways that interferes or interprets our best attempts. 

Laisha Rosnauis the author of The Sudden Weight of Snowwhich was an honourable mention for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Rosnau’s first collection of poetry, Notes on Leaving, won the 2005 Acorn-Plantos People’s Poetry Award. Her second, Lousy Explorers, was a finalist for the Pat Lowther Award for best book of poetry by a Canadian woman.  

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Port of Being
by Shazia Hafiz Ramji
Publisher: Invisible Publishing

Voyeurism and fact go head to head in Port of Being, a debut book of poetry that mines speech from the city streets and the internet. These are poems set firmly on the threshold of the private and public, the future-haunted and the real, forging the human adrift in a terrain of space junk, drones, and addiction. Port of Being speaks just in time, navigating the worlds of surveillance, migration, and money, only to carve a way into intimacy and connection. 

Shazia Hafiz Ramji was a finalist for the 2018 Alberta Magazine Awards, received the 2017 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, and was a finalist for the 2016 National Magazine Awards. Her writing has appeared in Quill & Quire, Canadian Literature, The Puritan, and Metatron’sALPHA and OMEGA.

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by Eve Joseph
Publisher: Anvil Press

The poems in this collection reach for something other than truth, the marvelous. Leaves fall out of coat sleeves, Gandhi swims in Burrard Inlet. The poems are like empty coats from which the inhabitants have recently escaped, leaving behind images as clues to their identity. There are leaps between logics within the poems, and it is in these spaces where everything comes together, like the uplift of the conductor’s hand to begin a piece of music where, as Arvo Part put it, the potential of the whole exists. 

Eve Joseph’s two books of poetry were both nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Award. Her nonfiction book, In the Slender Margin won the Hubert Evans Award, and was one of the top 100 picks of the year by the Globe and Mail.

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The Small Way
by Onjana Yawnghwe
Publisher: Caitlin Press

In The Small Way, a woman re-evaluates herself and her marriage as she comes to terms with a spouse’s transition. Intimate and powerful, the poems celebrate the courage of a partner coming out as a trans woman and records the confusion in facing a partner’s changing gender identity. Speaking to the tenderness that exists between two people, the book explores shifting bodies and emotional landscapes, and examines what it really means to love someone. The book is an elegy to love and memory, a chronicle of holding on and letting go. 

Onjana Yawnghwes have been featured in numerous anthologies and journals, including The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2011, 4 Poets, CV2, Room, and The New Quarterly. Her first poetry book, Fragments, Desire, was published by Oolichan Books in 2017. 

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Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize

Athlii Gwaii: Upholding Haida Law at Lyell Island
by Council of the Haida Nation
Publisher: Locarno Press

In 1985, the Haida Nation refused to accept the relentless industrial logging practices that were ravaging Gwaii Haanas. Designating the area a Haida Heritage Site, they drew a line that stands to this day. Guided by Haida law and trusting in their culture, the Nation upheld their responsibility to Haida Gwaii with unwavering clarity. Canada and the province of British Columbia pushed back and seventy-two people were arrested, including many Elders. But the Haida held firm in their stand, and with the support from around the world, logging was stopped. Negotiations between the Haida Nation and Canada ensued, resulting in the ground-breaking Gwaii Haanas Agreement in which both Nations agree to disagree on Title to the region, and instead focus on its protection for the benefit of all future generations. 

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Beau Dick
by Darrin Martens
Publisher: Figure 1 Publishing 

Although foremost known as an artist, Beau Dick was actively engaged in all aspects of Kwakwaka’wakw culture: studying and revivifying the traditions of carving, dancing, and storytelling. Beau Dick presents eighty of the artist’s finest masks and contextualizes his work within the Kwakwaka’wakw tradition, while also showing how Dick incorporated contemporary Western influences. Dick’s craftsmanship and artistry have been noted for being strongly influenced by traditional pieces and techniques, but are particularly unique for their incorporation of contemporary and Western influences as well. 

Darrin Martens is the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chief Curator at the Audain Art Museum in Whistler, British Columbia. He previously worked as the director of the Nisga’a Museum in Northern BC, and as the director-curator of the Burnaby Art Gallery. 

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Big Lonely Doug: The Story of One of Canada’s Last Great Trees
by Harley Rustad
Publisher: House of Anansi Press

Big Lonely Doug weaves the ecology of old-growth forests, the legend of the West Coast’s big trees, the turbulence of the logging industry, the fight for preservation, the contention surrounding ecotourism, First Nations land and resource rights, and the fraught future of these ancient forests around the story of a logger who saved one of Canada’s last great trees.

Harley Rustad is an editor at The Walrus magazine. His articles and photography have been published in magazines, newspapers, and online outlets including The Walrus, Outside, the Globe and Mail, Geographical, Reader’s Digest, the Guardian, and CNN. He has reported from India, Nepal, Cuba, and across Canada. Born on Salt Spring Island, BC, he now lives in Toronto. 

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Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley’s Stand Against Big Hydro
by Sarah Cox
Publisher: On Point Press, UBC Press

Breaching the Peace tells the story of the ordinary citizens who are standing up to the most expensive megaproject in BC history and the government-sanctioned bullying that has propelled it forward. Starting in 2013, journalist Sarah Cox travelled to the Peace River Valley to talk to locals about the Site C dam and BC Hydro’s claim that the clean energy project was urgently needed. She found farmers, First Nations, and scientists caught up in a modern-day David-and-Goliath battle to save the valley, their farms, and traditional lands from wholesale destruction.

Sarah Cox is an award-winning journalist who specializes in energy and environmental issues. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines, online publications, and provincial and national newspapers. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia. 

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Just Let Me Look at You
by Bill Gaston
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton Canada

Sons clash with fathers, sons find reasons to rebel. And, fairly or unfairly, sons judge fathers when they take to drinking. But Bill Gaston and his father could always fish together. Returning to the past in his old fishing boat, Bill unravels his father’s relationship with his father, it too a story marked by heavy drinking, one that took a much darker turn. A  Sons clash with fathers, sons find reasons to rebel. And, fairly or unfairly, sons judge fathers when they take to drinking. 

Bill Gaston is the author of seven novels and seven collections of short fiction, as well as a book of poems and a memoir. His fiction has been shortlisted for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award. His novel, The World, won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. 

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Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize

Learning to Breathe
by Janice Lynn Mather
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada

Indira Ferguson has done her best to live by her Grammy’s rules. But it hasn’t always been easy, especially living in her mother’s shadow. When Indy is sent to stay in Nassau, she must hide an unwanted pregnancy from her aunt. Completely broke, Indy desperately looks for a safe space to call home. After stumbling upon a yoga retreat, she wonders if she’s found that place. But Indy is about to discover that home is much bigger than just four walls and a roof—it’s about the people she chooses to share it with. 

Janice Lynn Mather is a Bahamian writer with an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She has been a collector of interesting jobs: journalist, conversationalist, performance poet, and professional finger-wagger 

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The Journey Forward, A Novella on Reconciliation: When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! / Lucy and Lola
by Monique Gray Smith and Richard Van Camp
Publisher: McKellar and Martin Publishing Group Ltd.

When We Play Our Drums, They Sing! This the story of 12-year-old Dene Cho, who is angry that his people are losing their language, traditions, and ways of being. Elder Snowbird is there to answer some of Dene Cho’s questions, and to share their history including the impact Residential schools continue to have on their people.

Lucy and Lola are 11-year-old twins who are heading to Gabriola Island, BC, to spend the summer with their Kookum (grandmother) while their mother studies for the bar exam. During their time with Kookum, the girls begin to learn about her experiences in being sent — and having to send their mother — to Residential school.

Monique Gray Smith is an award-winning author, international speaker, and sought-after consultant. Her first published novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Literature. Her other titles include My Heart Fills with Happiness, winner of the 2017 Christie Harris BC Book Award for Children’s Literature, Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, and You Hold Me Up. 

Richard Van Camp is the author of two children’s picture book: A Man Called Raven and What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses? Richard is also the author of four board books for babies and young childrenHis award-winning novel, The Lesser Blessed, is now a feature film with First Generation Films, and his latest novel, Whistle, is about mental health and asking for forgiveness. 

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Nice Try, Jane Sinner
by Lianne Oelke
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

After her expulsion from high school, Jane Sinner is going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby community college, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out. Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality showAs House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive.

Lianne Oelke has a degree in philosophy and works in the film industry—which may explain a lot about her debut novel, Nice Try, Jane Sinner. Or not. She lives, camps, and thinks about cats in Vancouver. 

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No Fixed Address
by Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

Felix Knuttson, twelve, is an endearing kid with an incredible brain for trivia. His mom Astrid is loving but unreliable; she can’t hold onto a job, or a home. When they lose their apartment in Vancouver, they move into a camper van. Felix must keep “home” a secretWhen he gets to compete on a national quiz show, Felix is determined to win — the cash prize will bring them a home. But what happens is not at all what Felix expected. 

Susin Nielsen is a Canadian author for children, adolescent and young adults. She received a Governor General’s Award and the 2013 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award for her young adult novel The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen.

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Very Rich
by Polly Horvath 
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

Rupert lives with his family in the poorest section of Steelville, Ohio. When he spends Christmas with his classmate Turgid Rivers, he is offered the opportunity to win wonderful prizes in the family games—prizes he hopes to take home so he can share his bounty. After he loses everything, Rupert resigns himself to going home empty handed. Feeling guilty, the Rivers family try to make it up to him by taking Rupert on one unlikely adventure after another. 

Polly Horvath’s books include The Canning Season (National Book Award winner and YA Canadian Book of the Year), Everything on a Waffle (Newbery Honor Book), and My One Hundred Adventures (School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Booklist Editors’ Choice, and Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of the Year).

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Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize

The Nameless City: The Divided Earth
by Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: First Second

The Nameless City—held by the rogue Dao prince Erzi—is under siege by a coalition of Dao and Yisun forces who are determined to end the war for the Nameless City once and for all. The people of the city—the “Named”—are caught in between. The third and final installment in the Nameless City trilogy, it features deft world-building, frantic battle scenes, and a gentle and moving friendship at its heart.

Faith Erin Hicks is a writer and artist in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her graphic novels include the Nameless City trilogy, Friends with Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (with Prudence Shen), and the Eisner Award–winning The Adventures of Superhero Girl.

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Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted nature
by Margriet Ruurs
Illustrated by Robert Bateman
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers

Robert Bateman: The Boy Who Painted Nature is the story of how a young child achieved his dream of painting the world around him and became one of Canada’s most famous artists. Using Robert’s own personal photographs, sketches and artwork, Margriet Ruurs weaves a simple story of inspiration and encouragement. 

Margriet Ruurs is the author of many award-winning books for children. She enjoys speaking about reading and writing to students at schools around the world. Margriet was born in the Netherlands but has been a Canadian for most of her life. She lives with her family on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

Robert Bateman, a naturalist and painter, developed a painting style that has been internationally lauded, and his work has been exhibited around the world. In 1999 the Audubon Society named him one of the top 100 environmental proponents of the twentieth century. Robert was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1984 and a Member of the Order of British Columbia in 2001. He lives on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

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Sir Simon: Super Scarer
by Cale Atkinson
Publisher: Penguin Random House Young Readers

Meet Sir Simon, Super Scarer. He’s a professional ghost who has been transferred to his first house, occupied by an old lady — they’re the easiest to haunt! But things don’t go as planned when it turns out a KID comes with this old lady. A delightful, funny story of friendship, ghost chores, a spooky house and a professional haunter.

Cale Atkinson is an illustrator and animator living lakeside with his family in Kelowna, British Columbia. His work can be found in children’s books, including To the Sea, which he wrote and illustrated, animated shorts, television and games. If he had to choose, Cale would probably want a hippogriff as a pet, to go on adventures and solve mysteries with. Or maybe just a goldfish…

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by Ian Boothby
Illustrated by Nina Matsumoto
Publisher: Scholastic Canada

August is a brilliant inventor who is afraid of the outside. Charlie is a crack pilot who isn’t afraid of anything. Together these pals save lives every day. They also happen to be cats who pilot a powerful, mechanical dog suit! Always eager to leap into danger, this feline duo have their work cut out for them as they try to thwart Princess, an evil alien bent on enslaving mankind. When Princess enacts a brilliant and dastardly plan to conquer Earth, August and Charlie pull out all the stops to save the day.  

Ian Boothby has written comic books for The Simpsons, Futurama, Mars Attacks, Scooby-Doo, The Powerpuff Girls and The Flash. Ian has also won an Eisner Award for Best Short Story along with the artist Nina Matsumoto. Sparks is his first graphic novel for children.

Nina Matsumoto is a Japanese-Canadian cartoonist, also known as “space coyote”, and most known for creating the comic book series Yōkaiden for Del Rey Manga. She created the webcomic Saturnalia, and has worked as a penciller on Simpsons Comics and The Last Airbender: Prequel: Zuko’s Story graphic novel.

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Sterling, Best Dog Ever
by Aidan Cassie
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Sterling the dog has always wanted a home. But no home has ever wanted him. So when Sterling sees a sign on the side of the Butlery Cutlery Company advertising free “shipping to homes around the world,” he is determined to become the most terrific fork ever! For what home doesn’t need flatware? Sterling is delivered on time and undamaged to the Gilbert family. He is not, however, what they ordered… but he may be exactly what they need. 

Aidan Cassie studied animation and earned a media arts degree at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design as well as Edinburgh College of Art. Sterling, Best Dog Ever is her first picture book. She lives on a small island in the Salish Sea of British Columbia.

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Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award

21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act
by Bob Joseph
Publisher: Page Two Strategies

The Indian Act continues to shape, control, and constrain the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Peoples, and is at the root of many stereotypes that persist. Bob Joseph’s book comes at a key time in the reconciliation process, when awareness from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities is at a crescendo. Joseph explains how Indigenous Peoples can step out from under the Indian Act and return to self-government, self-determination, and self-reliance—and why doing so would result in a better country for every Canadian.  

Bob Joseph has provided training on Indigenous and Aboriginal relations since 1994. As a certified Master Trainer, his clients include all levels of government, Fortune 500 companies, corporate enterprises, and Indigenous peoples worldwide. Bob Joseph is an Indigenous person, and is a member of the Gwawaenuk Nation. 

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E.J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island
by Robert Amos
Publisher: TouchWood Editions

The reputation of E. J. Hughes in British Columbia is second only to that of Emily Carr. His paintings fetch more than $1 million at auction, yet Hughes lived a notoriously private life. Hughes painted scenes from all over BC, but he especially loved Vancouver Island, and lived most of his 93 years at Shawnigan Lake and Duncan. This book includes a biography of the artist, alongside sketches and photos revealing his studio methods, and shares his handwritten notes. 

Robert Amos has published eight books on art and was the arts columnist for Victoria’s Times Colonist newspaper for more than thirty years. He was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1995 and is an Honorary Citizen of Victoria. He lives in Oak Bay with his wife, Sarah. 

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by Darrel J. McLeod
Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Growing up in Smith, Alberta, Darrel J. McLeod was surrounded by his Cree family’s history. In shifting and unpredictable stories, his mother, Bertha, shared narratives of their culture, their family and the cruelty that she endured in residential school. The fractured narrative of Mamaskatch mirrors Bertha’s attempts to reckon with the trauma and abuse she faced in her own life, and captures an intensely moving portrait of a family of strong personalities, deep ties and the shared history that both binds and haunts them. 

Darrel J. McLeod is Cree from treaty eight territory in Northern Alberta. Before deciding to pursue writing in his retirement, he was a chief negotiator of land claims for the federal government and executive director of education and international affairs with the Assembly of First Nations.

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Murder by Milkshake: An Astonishing True Tale of Adultery, Arsenic, and a Charismatic Killer
by Eve Lazarus
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press

When Esther Castellani died a slow and agonizing death in Vancouver in 1965, the cause was at first undetermined. The day after Esther’s funeral, her husband, Rene, packed up his girlfriend, Lolly; his daughterand Lolly’s son and took off for Disneyland. If not for the doggedness of Esther’s doctor, Rene, then a charismatic CKNW radio personality, would have been free to marry Lolly, the station’s receptionist. Instead, Rene was charged with murder for poisoning Esther with arsenic-laced milkshakes in one of BC’s most sensational criminal cases.  

Eve Lazarus is writer with a passion for true crime stories and non-traditional history. Some of her previous books include Cold Case Vancouver: The City’Most Baffling Unsolved Murders and Blood, Sweat, and Fear: The Story of Inspector Vance, Vancouver’s First Forensic Investigator.

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One Eagle Soaring
by Robert Budd and Roy Henry Vickers (Illustrator)
Publisher: Harbour Publishing

One Eagle Soaring, a “first numbers” book, explores counting and numbers with the help of West Coast animals—from a single eagle aloft, to a trio of swimming whales, as well as leaping frogs, honey-hungry bears and a group of ten dozing owls. Combining vivid illustrations, a glossy tactile finish and a simple yet catchy text, this sturdy board book introduces babies and toddlers to the spectacular scenery and wildlife of British Columbia. 

Robert (Lucky) Budd is the co-author of the Northwest Coast Legends series and the author of Voices of British Columbia, which was shortlisted for the 2011 Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award, and its sequel, Echoes of British Columbia, which won second prize in the BC Historical Federation’s writing competition in 2014. 

Roy Henry Vickers is a renowned carver, painter and printmaker. He is the co-author of the popular children’s Northwest Coast Legends series, all of which were shortlisted for the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award: Raven Brings the Light in 2014, Cloudwalker in 2015, Orca Chief in 2016 and Peace Dancer in 2017.

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