Comedian, writer, and former Peak editor Charlie Demers emceed the 30th annual BC Book Prizes Gala Saturday, May 3. The ceremony, held at the Renaissance Harbourside Hotel in downtown Vancouver with the jovial Demers at the helm, awarded eight prizes for literary excellence in the province.
SFU professor emeritus David Stouck won two different categories for his biography, Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life: the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize.
In his thank-yous, Stouck said it was an “enormous privilege” to study Erickson, the renowned local architect who designed our own SFU Burnaby campus as well as the Museum of Anthropoogy at UBC, and Vancouver’s law courts. Stouck also acknowledged Ethel Wilson’s niece, Mary Buckerfield White, who suggested he write the book on Erickson.
The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize was awarded to Jordan Abel for The Place of Scraps, which explores the connection between First Nations cultures and ethnography. He was inspired by Marius Barbeau’s book Totem Poles, whereby attempting to preserve Native culture and artifacts, Barbeau actually aided in breaking it apart.
Abel is a Nisga’a poet, an SFU Continuing Studies instructor, writer, and editor. He beat out two other SFU-connected authors, Renée Sarojini Saklikar for her debut collection children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections, and Russell Thornton for Birds, Metals, Stones and Rain.
Other winners announced Saturday night included Ashley Little, who won two different categories for two different books — the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for the novel Anatomy of a Girl Gang, and the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for her YA book The New Normal; Julie Morstad won the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize for How To, which she both wrote and illustrated; and CBC broadcaster Grant Lawrence, received his second Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award for The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie.
Also honoured at the gala was children’s author Kit Pearson, who accepted the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.