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Victoria Book Prizes winners

October 05th, 2020

Lorna Crozier (at right) and Mark Leiren-Young have been announced as the 2020 Victoria Book Prizes winners.

Crozier took the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for The House the Spirit Builds (Douglas & McIntyre $22.95) and Leiren-Young won the City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize for Orcas Everywhere; The Mystery and History of Killer Whales (Orca $24.95).

The House the Spirit Builds explores human-crafted and natural landscapes from a variety of angles. An image of a slice of light falling across a tablecloth, three oranges in a red bowl, a black beetle on a leaf: these poems speak of moments “when the dragonfly lands and grips the skin/ on the back of your hand” or “rain stops falling/ but/ hangs around/ like the shape of lust/ in bed sheets.” The impressions and expression vary, but all are informed by a sense of place and aim to take understanding to a more visceral plane.

Lorna Crozier is a much-lauded writer. In 2013 she received the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. Other awards she has won include: BC Book Prizes for both the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction B.C. Book Prize for Small Beneath the Sky: A Prairie Memoir (in 2010) as well as the Dorothy Livesay Poetry B.C. Book Prize for What the Living Won’t Let Go (in 2000); two Pat Lowther Awards for best collection of poetry by a Canadian woman; a Governor General’s Award for Inventing the Hawk (1992); and a Canadian Authors Association Award. In 2009 she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada and she is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Crozier has read her poetry, which has been translated into several languages, on every continent except Antarctica.

Leiren-Young’s Orcas Everywhere looks at how humans around the world (Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike) related to orcas in the past, how we relate to them now and what we can do to keep cetacean communities alive and thriving. The book deals with science, philosophy, environmentalism and ethics in a kid-friendly and accessible way. Leiren-Young takes us back to a time when killer whales were considered monsters, and examines how humans went from using orcas for target practice to nearly loving them to death.

Mark Leiren-Young

Mark Leiren-Young is a writer, documentary filmmaker, podcaster and orca activist. His book The Killer Whale Who Changed the World won the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada general audience book award. He wrote, directed and produced an award-winning documentary called The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, and his documentary about Moby Doll is being produced by Middle Child Films. Mark hosts a podcast about orca and ocean stories and is actively involved in the fight for the survival of the endangered southern residents. Mark has written for young audiences for ABC, PBS, YTV, Treehouse and BBC Kids.


The City of Victoria Butler Book Prize honours members of the literary community by awarding a $5,000 prize to an author for the best book published in the preceding year in the categories of fiction, literary non-fiction or poetry. Founded in 2004, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is a partnership between the City of Victoria and Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies.

New for 2020, the Children’s Book Prize has been rebranded as the City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize. In fall 2019, Council approved a motion to provide an annual $5,000 grant to the Victoria Book Prize Society for the Children’s Book Prize to recognize and celebrate exceptional children’s and youth literature in our community. The prize was established in 2008 by the late Mel Bolen of Bolen Books.



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