100 years of BC books

“Two literary mavericks appreciated on May 22: publisher & author Howard White (left) and bookseller Don Stewart. Details here.” FULL STORY


Tippett octet gets Stuart-Stubbs’ nod

February 26th, 2016

Made in British Columbia: Eight Ways of Making Culture (Harbour $32.95) by Pender Islander Maria Tippett is one of three titles shortlisted for the 2016 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Book Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia, a prize created in 2012 to recognize the best scholarly book published on a British Columbia subject by a Canadian author.

Tippett’s book explores the nature of B.C.’s distinct culture by profiling artists Emily Carr, Bill Reid, Francis Rattenbury, Arthur Erickson, Martin Allerdale Grainger, Jean Coulthard, George Woodcock and George Ryga.

Also a writer, Emily Carr is now widely acknowledged as the province’s most original, enduring painter.

Grainger, M.A. headshot

M.A. Grainger

Architect Francis Rattenbury designed the Empress Hotel and the Victoria Parliament buildings, before being murdered by chauffeur.

Arthur Erickson was a mercurial personality who gained international acclaim as an architect.

George Ryga’s groundbreaking play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, exposed the anguish and reality of life for First Nations women in B.C. and became a national hit.

Bill Reid became the foremost craftsman of First Nations art, as a sculptor, carver and jeweller.

Jean Coulthard wrote music that reflected the landscape around her.

Martin Grainger’s novel, Woodsmen of the West, was arguably the first B.C. novel to be respected within the canon of Canadian literature. Anarchist, poet and philosopher George Woodcock was indisputedly the province’s most prolific and multi-faceted man of letters.

All six subjects have previously been the subject of books. Tippett recalls her personal relations with some of them.

The judging committee wrote: “British Columbia possesses a rich literary and artistic culture to which Maria Tippett provides a welcome introduction. Focusing on six men and two women – three authors, two architects, a painter-author, a musician and a playwright – this readable book looks at how artistic creativity intersected with the demands of existence for the individuals. It shows how important was traditional British culture (now vanished) in the artistic formation of most of the eight and in the formation of the province’s “public culture” – government buildings, concert series and art galleries.” 978-1-55017-729-9


Also nominated are

Working Mothers and the Childcare Dilemma: A History of British Columbia’s Social Policy (UBC Press) by Lisa Pasolli


Resettling the Range: Animals, Ecologies, and Human Communities in Early British Columbia (UBC Press) by John Thistle


Pasolli, Lisa

Lisa Pasolli

British Columbia’s child care policies are scrutinized in Lisa Pasolli’s Working Mothers and the Child Care Dilemma (UBC Press $95). Her book examines how working mothers, social welfare and politics have influenced the concept of universal child care and recognizes those who have fought for it as a component of fundamental women’s rights. Pasolli is a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Indigenous Studies at Trent University.

The judging committee commented: “Entrenched attitudes have meant that, until recently, little or nothing was written about the dilemma faced by women who have simultaneously to make a living and to care for their children. Lisa Pasolli remedies this situation in respect to the history of childcare provided for working mothers in British Columbia. Starting with the 1920s, the author tracks how provincial and local authorities have taken on – tardily, grudgingly and incompletely – some responsibility for child care. A careful marshalling of evidence and a crisp style of argument make for a compelling, if unhappy, story.” 978-0-7748-2923-6


John Thistle is a research associate at the Labrador Institute at Memorial University. His interests as a geographer lie in the socio-economic and environmental legacies left behind by large-scale resource extraction. Much of his teaching and research covers environmental history, economic geography, and science and technology studies.

His book, Resettling the Range: Animals, Ecologies, and Human Communities in Early British Columbia (UBC Press $95) details the battle BC ranchers waged to rid the grasslands of wild horses and grasshoppers during the late 19th and early 20th century. With the help of government, ranchers worked to eradicate the competition under claims of “ranch improvement and rational land use” uncovering more complicated stories ofdispossession and marginalization.

Thistle, John

John Thistle

The first ranches appeared in B.C. during the gold rush eras of the 1850s and 1860s when thousands of hungry miners needed to be fed. Ranchers bought most of the best valley lands through preemption or leased crown lands.

By 1865 many grasslands had already been trampled or overgrazed by cattle.

There were ranches big and small. Some were immense. The storied Gang Ranch in the Chilcotin operated on a million acres, and Douglas Lake Ranch in the Nicola Valley stretched across some 450,000 acres.

As the Interior was further colonized, indigenous people were forced onto small reserve lands. Access to grasslands to graze their own horses and cattle was locked up behind more fences or settlers’ grazing rights.

As John Thistle describes, wild horses were regarded by ranchers and government officials as pests to be rid of similar to the thinking associated with other wild animals like bears, cougars, coyotes, even eagles, owls and skunks.

The judging committee commented, “The British Columbia interior, particularly its grasslands, has not received the attention its historical importance merits. John Thistle’s innovative study paints a graphic, compelling picture of the occupation of the Cariboo-Chilcotin region by newcomers, mainly ranchers. Their imperatives, which their economic and political authority allowed them to enforce, particularly in respect to wild horses and grasshoppers, profoundly altered the ecological balance of the grasslands, often to the detriment of the indigenous peoples living there. This well constructed, clearly written, and persuasive book makes an important contribution to our understanding of an overlooked aspect of British Columbia’s past.”



Sponsored by the University of British Columbia Library and Pacific BookWorld News Society, the annual Stuart-Stubbs Prize honours the exemplary career of Basil Stuart-Stubbs (1930-2012), who served as University Librarian at UBC for 17 years (1964-1981) and Director of the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies (1981-1992). The judges for the 2016 are academic Allan Smith, Jean Barman and Roderick Barman.

The Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize will be awarded at UBC Library on June 9.


Basil Stuart-Stubbs Award Entries for 2016 – books published in 2015

The Life and Art of Harry and Jessie Webb by Adrienne Brown, Publisher: Mother Tongue

Ground Truthing: Reimagining the Indigenous Rainforests of B.C.’s North Coast by Derrick Stacey Denholm, Publisher: Caitlin Press

These Are Our Legends narrated by Lillooet Elders, transcribed and translated by Jan van Eijk, illustrated by Marie Abraham, Publisher: University of Regina Press

A World for My Daughter: An Ecologist’s Search for Optimism by Alejandro Frid, Publisher: Caitlin Press

Trouble on Main Street: Mackenzie King, Reason, Race, and the 1907 Vancouver Riots by Julie F. Gilmour, Publisher: Allen Lane, Penguin

Watershed Moments: A Pictorial History of Courtenay and District including Comox, Cumberland, Forbidden Plateau, Goose Spit, Merville, Royston and Union Bay by Christine Dickinson, Deborah Griffiths, Judy Hagen & Catherine Siba, Publisher: Harbour

The De Cosmos Enigma by Gordon Hawkins, Publisher: Ronsdale Press

Slave Girls to Salvation: Gender, Race, and Victoria‘s Chinese Rescue Home, 1886-1923 by Shelley Ikebuchi, Publisher UBC Press.

Ian McTaggart-Cowan: The Legacy of a Pioneering Biologist, Educator and Conservationist by Ronald D. Jakimchuk, R. Wayne Campbell & Dennis A. Demarchi, Publisher: Harbour

Treasures of the Royal British Columbia Museum and Archives by Jack Lohman, Publisher: Royal BC Museum

Uncharted Waters: The Explorations of José Narváez (1768 – 1840) by Jim McDowell, Publisher: Ronsdale Press

A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia by Andrew MacLeod, Publisher Harbour

Working Mothers and the Childcare Dilemma: A History of British Columbia’s Social Policy by Lisa Pasolli, Publisher: UBC Press

Sonia: The Life of Bohemian, Rancher and Artist Sonia Cornwall 1919 – 2006 by Sheryl Salloum, Publisher: Caitlin Press

Islands’ Spirit Rising by Louise Takeda, Publisher: UBC Press

Resettling the Range: Animals, Ecologies, and Human Communities in British Columbia by John Thistle, Publisher: UBC Press

Masterworks from the Audain Art Museum by Ian M. Thom, Publisher: Figure 1

Made in British Columbia: Eight Ways of Making Culture by Maria Tippett, Publisher: Harbour

The Klondike Gold Rush Steamers: A History of Yukon River Steam by Robert D. Turner, Publisher: Sono Nis


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