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


Whistler Book Awards shortlist

June 06th, 2024

The following BC based authors are shortlisted for the 2024 Whistler Independent Book Awards within three categories. The shortlisted nominees will be assessed by the judges and the finalists will be announced on July 18, 2024.

Nominees for the fiction category:

Author Karen Barrow (at right) is nominated for her debut book, Palmyra (FriesenPress $25.86), in which an unexpected visitor to a Trinidad cocoa estate stirs memories of mysterious deaths among a French Creole family. The once-grand “Great House,” now nearly in ruins, was where young Joe, the housekeeper’s son, observed unsettling events. Decades later, the arrival of a young stranger triggers tragic consequences linked to Joe’s reawakened memories. Rich in historical detail, the novel chronicles the rise of an educated elite challenging the white plantocracy post-slavery. Blending a coming-of-age tale with Gothic mystery, Palmyra explores themes of divided loyalties, family secrets and ambition.

Tim Hanley

Author of Lady Black (Self Published, 2020), Tim Hanley is nominated for his book, Occurrence at Five Finger (Blitzprint $24.99), a fast-paced thriller set in Dawson City’s gritty underworld. Hanley plunges readers into a world where the relentless pursuit of money overrides all morals. Returning characters such as Sam Baylor, join a new cast: a faded woman of the night, an opportunistic accountant, a fearsome bartender, and a haunted young policeman. Their lives intertwine amid the mists of Five Finger Rapids, creating a tense narrative of ambition and desperation.

Elizabeth Oldham

Elizabeth Oldham is nominated for her debut book, Tail of Humanity (Doppia Press $15.99), which follows the narrative of King, a mixed-breed dog with a tumultuous past. Scarred by unfriendly humans and a life of hunger and homelessness, King lives by survival laws like “see food, eat food.” Rescued from a desperate situation by Rose, a gentle hound, he pledges loyalty to her. However, when he and Rose are violently separated, King vows to find her, even if it means leaving a kind, new human companion who’s just entered his life. This heartwarming, thought-provoking novel explores humanity through the eyes of a dog, promising a touching conclusion for both canines and humans.

Hannah D. State

Author Hannah D. State is nominated for the second book in her The Dark Galaxy series, Journey to the Dark Galaxy (Glowing Light Press $22.98). When Earth receives a mysterious signal from deep space, its leaders face an ultimatum: deliver Sam Sanderson to Logom, a planet known to house a hostile AI civilization or risk interplanetary war. Drafted into the Great Alliance for Interplanetary Affairs, Sam expects answers but encounters coldness and secrecy instead. Grappling with her unique power, she uncovers the organization’s dark past and hidden secrets. Tasked with a mission to the perilous Dark Galaxy, where nothing is as it seems, Sam must navigate lies and danger. As Earth’s scientists race to defend against the AI threat, Sam’s journey may change her forever and demands more than just courage to save humanity.

Daphne Wright

In Love and Death and Belonging (Brimelow Goff $20.00), author Daphne Wright explores the intersecting lives of three later-middle-aged individuals, often overlooked in contemporary fiction. Fiona, a burned-out nurse nearing retirement; Brice, a gay man grappling with ALS; and Adelina, a marginalized woman enduring domestic abuse with faith in God, each face challenges of aging, loneliness and illness. Their paths converge as they navigate the harsh realities of life, including the possibility of medical assistance in dying. This light-hearted yet profound novel highlights the struggles of belonging and the inherent difficulties in life’s later stages.

Nominees for the non-fiction category:

Bonnie McGhie

Hard Landings: Chasing a Dream in Canada’s Changing Arctic (Self Published, $24.99) by Bonnie McGhie recounts her life in the Canadian Arctic during the early 1960s, emphasizing the courage and resilience required. She details her experiences in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, where she and her pilot husband establish Arctic Wings, a charter air service. Moving to Tuktoyaktuk to expand their business, Bonnie opens a trading post, earning the trust of her Inuit neighbors amidst government-induced disruptions. The memoir highlights the challenges of raising a family in harsh conditions, the joy in unexpected relationships, and the region’s stark beauty. A near-fatal bush flying accident ultimately jeopardizes the dream they worked tirelessly to achieve.

Kelly McKenzie

In Kelly McKenzie’s coming-of-age memoir, Never, Never, Hardly Ever: A Mother-Daughter Story of Antiques and Antics (Tolmie Press $23.22), a successful entrepreneur hires her broke, single and jobless daughter, Kelly, to help run the family’s Asian antique and collectibles store, FROG. Struggling to make her first sale a month into the job, 26-year-old Kelly knows little about the inventory and is initially indifferent. Despite challenging mother-daughter dynamics and quirky characters, Kelly finds unexpected friendships and a welcoming community at FROG. With her best friends moving away and a new romantic interest, Kelly is determined to prove herself. However, her plans are disrupted when her mother decides to abandon FROG for a new business, leaving Kelly to choose whether to quit or commit.

Nominees for the children’s books category:

P.S. Whatever

Author P.S. Whatever’s second book in a new fantasy series for kids aged 9-12, Secrets of the Under-Under World: Creatures (Self Published $15.99) follows characters Sam, Boyo, Darby and Gemini, as they return to stop the deadly Slashasaurus eggs from hatching, a catastrophe that could destroy humanity. Their quest spans continents and the Under-Under World, encountering pirates, thieves and mythical creatures. Illustrated by the author, this book combines entertainment with thought-provoking themes, appealing to young readers and budding environmentalists who understand the importance of saving the earth.




Jointly administered by the Whistler Writing Society, Canadian Authors and Vivalogue Publishing, the Whistler Independent Book Awards (WIBAs) provide independent authors with the opportunity to have their work recognized through a juried process typically reserved for trade-published titles. The Whistler Independent Book awards are sponsored by the Writers’ Union of Canada, the national organization of professionally published authors.

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