Afghani flight to freedom

Shahnaz Qayumi (left) writes about the aftermath of the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989 and details life under Taliban rule for young readers in her latest novel.FULL STORY


#16 Significant B.C. literature to 1997

September 16th, 2016

There is no critical study of B.C. writing to date, no critical overview; no statistics.

Here then, to mark the tenth anniversary at B.C. BookWorld in 1997, here is a checklist for 200 of the most significant B.C. books of the 20th century up to 1997, as selected by BCBW publisher, Alan Twigg.

Criteria for inclusion are literary excellence, sociological importance and/or industrial significance. Usually the first major work of an author with an important body of work was selected as representative.

‘Outsiders’ who have lived briefly in B.C. while writing particular books (eg. Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman; Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel) are included. Fiction, poetry and drama titles are listed in italics. Few writers appear more than once.

Obviously this Top 200 list doesn’t purport to be definitive.

The bestselling work of fiction set in B.C. is probably Anne Cameron’s Daughters of Copper Woman, reprinted 20 times since 1981.

The most famous novel written in B.C. is unquestionably Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, set in Mexico.

In terms of widespread commercial success, frontrunners include James Clavell’s Tai-Pan, W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe, Douglas Coupland’s Generation X, William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Nick Bantock’s Griffin & Sabine.

The bestselling B.C. nonfiction is either Knowing God by theologian H.I. Packer or The Peter Principle by Lawrence J. Peter and Raymond Hull. For the latter, the story goes that in the late 1960s both men were attending an amateur play at the Metro Theatre in Vancouver. Taking refuge in the lobby, UBC professor Lawrence Peter observed to Hull, a stranger, that the Metro production was a classic example of people rising to their level of incompetence. Hull, a freelance writer, suggested to Peter that there just might be a book in that idea…

1. Julia Henshaw, Why Not Sweetheart? (1901)
2. Father A.G. Morice, The History of the Northern Interior of British Columbia, Commonly Called New Caledonia (1906)
3. Morley Roberts, The Prey of the Strongest (1906)
4. Martin Allerdale Grainger, Woodsmen of the West (1908)
5. John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names (1909)
6. E. Pauline Johnson, Legends of Vancouver (1911)
7. David Thompson, Travels in Western North America 1784-1812 (1916)
8. Bertrand Sinclair, Poor Man’s Rock (1920)
9. B.A. McKelvie, Huldowget (1926)
10. Franz Boas, Primitive Art (1927)
11. Frederick Niven, Wild Honey (1927)
12. A.M. Stephen, The Kingdom of the Sun (1927)
13. Frederick William Howay, British Columbia: The Making of a Province (1928)
14. George Godwin, The Eternal Forest (1929)
15. Franz Boas, The Religion of the Kwakiutl Indians (1930)
16. Irene Baird, Waste Heritage (1939)
17. Roderick Haig-Brown, The Western Angler (1939)
18. Howard O’Hagan, Tay John (1939)

19. Marius Barbeau, Modern Growth of the Totem Pole on the Northwest Coast (1940)
20. Emily Carr, Klee Wyck (1941)
21. Earle Birney, David & Other Poems (1942)
22. Robert Swanson, Rhymes of a Western Logger (1942)
23. Bruce Hutchison, The Unknown Country (1943)
24. Dorothy Livesay, Poems for People (1947)
25. Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano (1947)
26. Ethel Wilson, Hetty Dorval (1947)
27. John Cornish, The Provincials (1951)
28. Richmond P. Hobson Jr., Grass Beyond the Mountains: Discovering the Last Great Cattle Frontier on the North American Continent (1951)
29. Gilean Douglas, A River for My Sidewalk (1953)
30. Grace McInnes, J.S. Woodsworth: A Man to Remember (1953)
31. Hubert Evans, Mist on the River (1954)
32. Margaret Ormsby, British Columbia: A History (1958)
33. Sheila Watson, The Double Hook (1959)
34. Simon Fraser, The Letters and Journals of Simon Fraser 1806-1808 (1960)
35. Alan Morley, Vancouver: From Milltown to Metropolis (1961)
36. George Nicholson, Vancouver Island’s West Coast 1762-1962 (1962)
37. George Woodcock, Anarchism (1962)
38. Eric Collier, Three Against the Wilderness (1964)
39. Wilson Duff, The Indian History of British Columbia (1964)
40. Margaret Laurence, The Stone Angel (1964)
41. Jane Rule, Desert of the Heart (1964)
42. James Clavell, Tai-Pan (1966)
43. Christie Harris, Raven’s Cry (1966)
44. Paul St. Pierre, Breaking Smith’s Quarter Horse (1966)
45. Elizabeth Smart, By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept (1966)
46. George Woodcock, The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell (1966)
47. George Clutesi, Son of Raven, Son of Deer (1967)
48. Myrtle Bergren, Tough Timber: The Loggers of British Columbia – Their Story (1967)
49. Sheila Egoff, The Republic of Childhood (1967)
50. Ivan Aukumovic and George Woodcock, The Doukhobors (1968)
51. M. Wylie Blanchet, The Curve of Time (1968)
52. Kathleen E. Dalzell, The Queen Charlotte Islands 1744-1966 (1968)
53. G.P.V. and Helen Akrigg, 1001 British Columbia Place Names (1969)
54. Margaret Atwood, The Edible Woman (1969)
55. Lawrence Peter and Raymond Hull, The Peter Principle (1969)

56. Allan Fry, How A People Die (1970)
57. Allan Mackie, Building with Logs (1971)
58. George Ryga, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and Other Plays (1971)
59. Robert Harlow, Scann (1972)
60. Robert Hunter (Robert Keziere, photos), Greenpeace (1972)
61. Dan Jason, Nancy Jason & David Manning, Some Useful Wild Plants for Nourishment and Healing (1972)
62. John Twigg and Ken Farquharson, The West Coast Trail and Nitinat Lakes (1972)
63. George Woodcock, The Rejection of Politics (1972)
64. Barry Broadfoot, Ten Lost Years (1973)
65. Vic Marks (editor), Cloudburst: A Handbook of Rural Skills and Technology (1973)
66. H.I. Packer, Knowing God (1973)
67. Martin Robin, Pillars of Profit: The Company Province 1934-1972 (1973)
68. Fred Rogers, Shipwrecks of British Columbia (1973)
69. D.M. Fraser, Class Warfare (1974)
70. Herschel Hardin, A Nation Unaware (1974)
71. Gerald Rushton, Whistle Up the Inlet (1974)

72. Jack Hodgins, Spit Delaney’s Island (1975)
73. Chuck Davis (editor), The Vancouver Book (1976)
74. Keith Maillard, Two Strand River (1976)
75. Betty Pratt-Johnson, 141 Dives in the Protected Waters of Washington and British Columbia (1976)
76. Tom Wayman (editor), A Government Job At Last (1976)
77. Howard White (editor), Raincoast Chronicles First Five (1976)
78. Eric Wilson, Murder on the Canadian (1976)
79. Ian Slater, Firespill (1977)
80. Silver Donald Cameron, Seasons in the Rain (1978)
81. Patrick Lane, Poems, New and Selected (1978)
82. Peter Trower, Ragged Horizons (1978)
83. Betty Waterton (text) and Ann Blades (illustrations), Salmon for Simon (1978)
84. David Watmough, No More Into the Garden (1978)
85. Claire Culhane, Barred from Prison (1979)
86. William Deverell, Needles (1979)
87. Hubert Evans, O Time In Your Flight (1979)
88. A.L. Farley, Atlas of British Columbia: People, Environment and Resource Use (1979)
89. Hugh Johnston, The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada’s Colour Bar (1979)
90. Betty Lambert, Crossings (1979)
91. Dale Lovick (editor), Tommy Douglas Speaks (1979)
92. Susan Musgrave, A Man to Marry, A Man to Bury (1979)
93. Stan Persky, Son of Socred (1979)
94. Doris Shadbolt, Bill Reid (1979)
95. Ulli Steltzer and Catherine Kerr, Coast of Many Faces (1979)
96. Maria Tippett, Emily Carr: A Biography (1979)

97. bill bissett, Beyond Even Faithful Legends, Selected Poems (1980
98. Hugh Brody, Maps and Dreams (1981)
99. Anne Cameron, Daughters of Copper Woman (1981)
100. Joy Kogawa, Obasan (1981)
101. Tom Berger, Fragile Freedoms (1982)
102. Lynne Bowen, Boss Whistle: The Coal Miners of Vancouver Island Remember (1982)
103. W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe (1982)
104. Koozma J. Tarasoff, Plakun Trava: The Doukhobors (1982)
105. Phyllis Webb, The Vision Tree, Selected Poems (1982)
106. David Mitchell, W.A.C. Bennett and the Rise of British Columbia (1983)
107. William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
108. Thom Henley (and the Islands Protection Society), Islands at the Edge: Preserving the Queen Charlotte Islands Wilderness (1984)
109. Michael Kluckner, Vancouver The Way It Was (1984)
110. Audrey Thomas, Intertidal Life (1984)
111. L.R. Wright, The Suspect (1984)
112. Murat Yagan, I Come From Behind Kaf Mountain (1984)

113. Douglas Cole, Captured Heritage: The Scramble for Northwest Coast Artifacts (1985)
114. Alf Davy, The Gilley: A Flyfisher’s Guide to British Columbia (1985)
115. Donald Graham, Keepers of the Light (1985)
116. Ben Metcalfe, A Man of Some Importance (1985)
117. Peter Murray, The Devil and Mr. Duncan (1985)
118. Cameron Young, The Forests of British Columbia (1985)
119. Sarah Ellis, The Baby Project (1986)
120. Brian Fawcett, Cambodia: A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow (1986)
121. Gary Geddes (editor), Vancouver: Soul of a City (1986)
122. Charles Lillard, Seven Shillings a Year: The History of Vancouver Island (1986)
123. Andreas Schroeder, Dust Ship Glory (1986)
124. David Cruise and Alison Griffiths, Fleecing the Lamb (1987)
125. Dara Culhane Speck, An Error in Judgement: The Politics of Medical Care in an Indian White Community (1987)
126. John Gray, Billy Bishop Goes to War (1987)
127. Kit Pearson, A Handful of Time (1987)
128. Jim Spilsbury & Howard White, Spilsbury’s Coast (1987)
129. Randy Stoltmann, Hiking Guide to the Big Trees of Southwestern British Columbia (1987)
130. David Suzuki, Metamorphosis: Stages in a Life (1987)
131. Sheila Baxter, No Way to Live: Poor Women Speak Out (1988)
132. Edith Iglauer, Fishing with John (1988)
133. Michael M’Gonigle and Wendy Wickwire, Stein: The Way of the River (1988)
134. Bridget Moran, Stoney Creek Woman (1988)
135. Paul Yee, Saltwater City: An Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver (1988)
136. Evelyn Lau, Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid (1989)
137. Philip Marchand, Marshall McLuhan: The Media and the Messenger (1989)
138. W.H. New, A History of Canadian Literature (1989)
139. Judith Plant (editor), Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism (1989)
140. Harry Robinson and Wendy Wickwire, Write It On Your Heart (1989)

141. R. Wayne Campbell and others, The Birds of British Columbia (1990)
142. Cyril E. Leonoff, An Enterprising Life: Leonard Frank, Photographs 1895-1944 (1990)
143. Susan Mayse, Ginger: The Life and Death of Albert Goodwin (1990)
144. Paul Tennant, Aboriginal Peoples and Politics (1990)
145. Howard White, Writing in the Rain (1990)
146. Steven Winter (editor), B.C. Recreational Atlas (1990)
147. Nick Bantock, Griffin & Sabine (1991)
148. Jean Barman, The West Beyond the West (1991)
149. Douglas Coupland, Generation X (1991)
150. Herb Hammond, Seeing the Forest for the Trees (1991)
151. Sheryl McFarlane (text) and Ron Lightburn (illustrations), Waiting for the Whales (1991)
152. Alexanrda Morton, Siwiti: A Whale’s Story (1991)
153. John Oliphant, The Brother Twelve (1991)
154. Emilie Smith-Ayala, The Granddaughters of Ixcumane: Guatemalan Women Speak (1991)
155. Wade Davis, Shadows in the Sun: Essays on the Spirit of Place (1992)
156. Terry Glavin, Nemiah: The Unconquered Country (1992)
157. Rolf Knight (with Homer Stevens), Home: A Life in the UFAWU (1992)
158. Bruce Macdonald, Vancouver: A Visual History (1992)
159. Shirley Sterling, My Name is Seepeetza (1992)
160. Gerald Staley, Trees of Vancouver (1992)
161. Linda Svendsen, Marine Life (1992)
162. Barbara Woodley, Portraits: Canadian Women in Focus (1992)
163. Caroline Adderson, Bad Imaginings (1993)
164. Sharon Brown, Some Become Flowers: Living with Dying at Home (1993)
165. George Bowering, Selected Poems 1962-92 (1993)
166. Jamie Cassels, The Uncertain Promise of Law: Lessons from Bhopal (1993)
167. Robert Davidson (edited by Ian Thom), Robert Davidson: Eagle of the Dawn (1993)
168. Karlene Faith, Unruly Women: The Politics of Confinement and Resistance (1993)
169. Alan Haig-Brown, Fishing for a Living (1993)
170. Michael Greenwood and Peter Nunn, Paradox & Healing (1993)
171. Julie Lawson, White Jade Tiger (1993)
172. Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The New Testament in Contemporary English
173. Jan-Udo Wenzel, Ginter (1993)
174. Jack Whyte, The Skystone (1993)
175. Victor Chan, Tibet Handbook (1994)
176. Denise Chong, The Concubine’s Children (1994)
177. Lisa Hobbs Birnie, Uncommon Will: The Life and Death of Sue Rodriguez (1994)
178. Daniel Gawthrop, Affirmation: The AIDS Odyssey of Dr. Peter (1994)
179. Harold Kalman, A History of Canadian Architecture (1994)
180. Irene Stangoe, Cariboo-Chilcotin: Pioneer People and Places (1994)
181. Sveva Caetani, Recapitulation (1995)
182. Bev Christensen, Too Good to Be True: Alcan’s Kemano Completion Project (1995)
183. Ken Drushka, H.R.: A Biography of H.R. MacMillan (1995)
184. Diana French, The Road Runs West: A Century Along the Bella Coola/Chilcotin Road (1995)
185. Birute Galdikas, Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo (1995)
186. Nan Gregory (text) and Ron Lightburn (illustrations), How Smudge Came (1995)
187. Sheryl Salloum Underlying Vibrations: The Photographs and Life of John Vanderpant (1995)
188. Howard Adams, A Tortured People: The Politics of Colonization (1996)
189. Perismmon Blackbridge, Sunnybrook: A True Story with Lies (1996)
190. Margo Button, The Unhinging of Wings (1996)
191. Richard Cannings and Sydney Cannings, British Columbia: A Natural History (1996)
192. Maria Coffey, Sailing Back in Time (1996)
193. Janine Fuller and Stuart Blackley, Restricted Entry: Censorship on Trial (1996)
194. Russ Heinl (principal photographer) and Bruce Obee (writer and editor), Over Beautiful B.C.: An Aerial Adventure (1996)
195. Deanna Kawatski, Clara and Me (1996)
196. Peter C. Newman, The Canadian Revolution (1996)
197. Jeff Wall, Jeff Wall (1996)
198. Jim Delgado, British Museum Encyclopaedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology (1997)
199. Jim McDowell, Hamatsa: The Enigma of Cannibalism on the Pacific Northwest Coast (1997)
200. Holley Rubinsky, At First I Hope for Rescue (1997)

Essay Date: 1997

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