#918 Congratulations BC Book Prizes winners, 2020!

Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 BC and Yukon Book Prizes, for books published in 2019, announced at an online event on September 19th. And especially to the reviewers at The Ormsby Review who so willingly assessed the winners and shortlisted books, all of them published in 2019. Congratulations, as well, to the authors of the shortlisted books — and to the many other fine books from 2019 featured in the pages of The Ormsby Review. And a special thanks to the reviewers who’ve considered, in these pages, a total of 25 of the shortlisted titles shown above– Ed.

Aaron Chapman

Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award.  The Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award has been won by Aaron Chapman for Vancouver After Dark: The Wild History of a City’s Nightlife (Arsenal Pulp Press). “Vancouver After Dark is Chapman’s third book about Vancouver’s temples of decompression,” writes reviewer Grahame Ware of Gabriola Island. “It covers a diverse number of Vancouver nightclubs over the 20th century, especially post-1945. It will have broad appeal. Chapman and his team at Arsenal Pulp Press have found the groove and succeeded beautifully in detailing the stories of the places Vancouverites went to have fun. Vancouver After Dark provides a sensitive and comprehensive account of the nightclubs that, between them, created a space to let us be ourselves.” Read Grahame’s full review here.

Alejandro Frid

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. The Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize has been won by Alejandro Frid for Changing Tides: An Ecologist’s Journey to Make Peace with the Anthropocene (New Society, 2019). Frid, an ecologist, has worked among the Wuikinuv, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nuxalk, and Heiltsuk Nations of coastal BC. “Frid believes,” writes Graeme Wynn, “passionately and on the basis of his work with coastal First Nations, that Indigenous peoples have long understood and practiced many of the behaviours required to save our threatened world…. This makes his book one of the more worthy additions to the fast expanding library of Anthropocene titles — the more so because Frid’s personal style and clear (even occasionally poetic) prose carries readers through discussions of the relevant science as easily as it transports them through remote landscapes and beneath the waves.” Read Graeme’s review here.

Steven Price

Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. The winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize is Lampedusa, by Steven Price (McClelland & Stewart), reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy of Kamloops. “We would be hard pressed to find a more rewarding read. Price is a master of both revelation and concealment – and at knowing when each is called for…. In Lampedusa, the past is always erasing, even as it re-inscribes itself in the present in fading yet indelible font. ” Read Ginny’s review here. PS Has anyone ever had their locks fixed at Price’s Locksmiths on Blanshard Street in Victoria? Steven Price is a fifth generation member of the locksmith family…

Chantal Gibson

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize has been won by Chantal Gibson’s  How She Read (Caitlin Press). “Too often, the history of women of colour, if not entirely redacted from ‘the books,’ is instead mis-characterized and even bowdlerized to create a weakened image instead of presenting more complex characters who somehow, against many odds, managed to do incredible things. The poems in Gibson’s book contribute to a redressing of that imbalance,” writes fellow-poet Renée Sarojini Saklikar. “Gibson’s How She Read begins with the English of Canadian grammar books circa the late 1940s before subverting the syntax of those rules with her memoir patois and cursive replications, and then closes with that most English and ancient of constructions, the sonnet, revamped and in your face.” Read Renée’s review here.

Ivan Coyote

Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes. The Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes has been awarded to Ivan Coyote for their memoir, Rebent Sinner (Arsenal Pulp Press).  Our reviewers, Anna Spencer and Heather Simeney MacLeod of Kamloops, write that “Ivan E. Coyote is brave. They are one of the bravest writers of the 21st century. Coyote takes on gender binaries from the position of a queer, nonbinary, trans individual, and they prevail. Coyote’s words beautifully inspire and encourage conversations that foster acceptance and understanding of all members of a community, queer and not.” Read Anna and Heather’s review here.

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. The winner of the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize is Carpe Fin: A Haida Manga (Douglas & McIntyre), by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Our reviewer in Skidegate, Molly Clarkson, reviews the winning book. “Within a Haida cosmology there is no such thing as a finite ending,” she writes. “Time ‘folds back on itself’ and we are, through Carpe Fin, reminded that there is no better time to act than when we feel that we have come to the end of something.” Read Molly’s review here.

Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize. This has been won by My Body, My Choice: The Fight for Abortion Rights (Orca Books), by Robin Stevenson. An Ormsby review will be forthcoming, but for now here is a link to the book at the publisher’s website.

Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. Has been won by Kyo Maclear (text) and Julie Morstad (illustrations) for It Began With a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way (Tundra Books/ Penguin Random House). We will arrange an Ormsby review; until then here is the book on the publisher’s site.

This page will be updated — Ed.


The Ormsby Review. More Books. More Reviews. More Often.

Publisher and Editor: Richard Mackie

The Ormsby Review is a journal service for in-depth coverage of B.C. books and authors. The Advisory Board consists of Jean Barman, Robin Fisher, Cole Harris, Wade Davis, Hugh Johnston, Patricia Roy, David Stouck, and Graeme Wynn. Scholarly Patron: SFU Graduate Liberal Studies. Honorary Patron: Yosef Wosk. Provincial Government Patron since September 2018: Creative BC

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