1817 An evening on Broadway


BC & Yukon Book Prizes shortlist evening
Book Warehouse Broadway Vancouver,  May 11, 2023
by Trevor Marc Hughes, non-fiction editor


Dempsey Bob and Richard Mackie. Photo Trevor Marc Hughes

It was hot, but the breeze kept the sun in check. I entered the Broadway book shop to see the BC & Yukon Book Awards banner. It was surrounded by several people, wine glasses in hand, laughing. It was wonderful seeing people socialize in person again. I discovered this was the first time this event had taken place since 2019. It was a chance to celebrate the finalists of the BC & Yukon Book Prizes.

Dempsey Bob was looking over his latest book displaying his carving work. He was telling editor and publisher Richard Mackie about how he had found the pandemic one of his most productive times, and Dempsey Bob: In His Own Voice was the result. Nearby Gary Wyatt, author of Echoes of the Supernatural: the Graphic Art of Robert Davidson, laughed at a comment.

Caitlin Jesson, co-owner of Black Bond Books and Book Warehouse, was smiling. It was the first time she had seen this kind of gathering for book lovers in four years. Authors, publishers, editors and book enthusiasts mingling in a bookstore.  “We’re hosting the BC & Yukon Book Prizes soirée this year!” It looks like it’s been much fun gathering in person again. “A great turnout as you can see, ” Caitlin exclaimed as she gestured behind her to the groups mingling in the book store. The fun also seems to have come from the assembly of a community again, after the pandemic kept these kinds of events from taking place.

Dempsey Bob with his shortlisted book. Photo Trevor Marc Hughes

A poster board at the store entrance exclaimed a giant “Thank you” as The West Coast Book Prize Society thanked several patrons and publishers in writing for making the gathering possible. Sharon Bradley, Executive Director of the Society and the BC & Yukon Book Prizes told me the evening was an accessible event for people from all walks of life to meet the authors and have a bite & a sip ahead of the September main event, a gala formal dinner, for the finalists. “We didn’t want to wait till September to celebrate,” she told me. She seems quite grateful that the evening is possible to “celebrate the finalists of this year’s shortlisted books.”

Michael Murphy, Board President of the West Coast Book Prizes clinked a wine glass with a fork and gave a speech in front of the gathering. He raised a “cheers” for the shortlisted authors, before he exclaimed “eat up folks, there’s lots of food left.”

There were now dozens of people in Children’s Literature, in Cookbooks and Travel. Poets Megan Fennya Jones and Sheryda Warrener share a laugh, notice my camera and smile. It is wonderful to see a community coming together again and connecting.

Trevor Marc Hughes. Photo Gabe Khouth

Here are some reviews of the shortlisted books for the 2023 BC & Yukon Book Prizes:

1. Michael Turner reviewed Test Piece by poet Sheryda Warrener (Toronto: Coach House Books, 2022)

2. Liz Hammond-Kaarremaa reviewed Dempsey Bob: In His Own Voice by Dempsey Bob (Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2022)

3. Mark Turin reviewed Echoes of the Supernatural: The Graphic Art of Robert Davidson by Gary Wyatt with Robert Davidson (Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2022)

4. Alison Acheson reviewed Uncertain Kin by Janice Lynn Mather (Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, Doubleday Canada), 2022

5. Zoe McKenna reviewed Cold Case BC: The Stories behind the Province’s Most Intriguing Murder and Missing Persons Cases by Eve Lazarus (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2022)

Megan Fennya Jones and Sheryda Warrener share a laugh. Photo Trevor Marc Hughes


The British Columbia Review

Interim Editors, 2023-24: Trevor Marc Hughes (non-fiction), Brett Josef Grubisic (fiction)
Publisher: Richard Mackie

Formerly The Ormsby Review, The British Columbia Review is an on-line book review and journal service for BC writers and readers. The Advisory Board now consists of Jean Barman, Wade Davis, Robin Fisher, Barry Gough, Hugh Johnston, Kathy Mezei, Patricia Roy, Maria Tippett, and Graeme Wynn. Provincial Government Patron (since September 2018): Creative BC. Honorary Patron: Yosef Wosk. Scholarly Patron: SFU Graduate Liberal Studies. The British Columbia Review was founded in 2016 by Richard Mackie and Alan Twigg.

“Only connect.” – E.M. Forster

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