It is Spring Break and time to read one of the great non-fiction books on the BC Book Prizes shortlist (see it here). The seven prizes are presented annually at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala in the spring, as well as a presentation to the winner of The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.
The shortlist includes Gently to Nagasaki, Joy Kogawa’s work of history and spirituality that explores both international horrors and those perpetrated by members of her own family. As we continue to debate keeping wild animals in captivity, Mark Leiren-Young’s account of Moby Doll, The Killer Whale Who Changed the World, is engaging, important and timely. Next week, I am going to see a play written and directed by a former student, Carmen Aguirre, who is also the author of another non-fiction nominee: Mexican Hooker #1: And My Other Roles Since the Revolution.
Other nominees include a history of the Gitxsan people, Mapping My Way Home, by longtime tribal leader Neil Sterritt; The Recorded History of the Liard Basin 1790-1910, by Anthony Kenyon, a retired doctor from Fort Nelson; The Last Gang in Town, by Aaron Chapman, about Vancouver’s Clark Park gang’s battles with police; and Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations by the recently deceased Richard Wagamese.
Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize includes two books that lean towards history. Inspired by the childhood of acclaimed Canadian artist Emily Carr, Kit Pearson’s A Day of Signs and Wonders takes place in Victoria in 1881 on a single day—a day in which a comet appears, an artist is born and grieving girl begins to heal. Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson gives an account of the history of Pride peppered with historical photos, documents, personal stories, and “Queer Facts.”
A Perfect Eden: Encounters by Early Explorers of Vancouver Island by Michael Layland is nominated for both the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize and the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award.
Congratulations to all the nominees, historians or otherwise. Prizes will be awarded April 29.