Return to Princess & Hastings
May 12th, 2015
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize
Maggie de Vries’s 28-year-old, adopted, younger sister Sarah vanished from the corner of Princess and Hastings on April 14, 1998 in Vancouver. On August 6, 2002, Vancouver police met with de Vries and gave her the news that a sample of Sarah’s DNA (from a tooth) was found by police on the Port Coquitlam property of Robert Pickton, the convicted serial killer of Vancouver prostitutes. After hope was replaced by grim certainty, de Vries kept searching for the answers as to how and why her sister had disappeared, leading her to write Missing Sarah: A Vancouver Woman Remembers Her Vanished Sister (Penguin, 2003), a heart-rending memoir that won the first annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in B.C. Literature in 2004 as well as the 13th annual VanCity Book Prize for best book pertaining to women’s issues by a B.C. author. Maggie de Vries wasn’t finished paying homage to her sister. While repeatedly watching a video of Sarah being interviewed in 1993 for a television program in which Sarah warned about the dangers of being addicted to heroine, de Vries noticed her sister had a small insignia of a Playboy bunny tattooed on her chest. As she explained to her audience at the B.C. Book Prizes gala, that tattoo gave rise to title of Rabbit Ears (HarperCollins), winner of this year’s Sheila A. Egoff Prize for Children’s Literature (non-illustrated).