Salt Spring writers win major awards at B.C. Book Prizes

Salt Spring Island writers Briony Penn and Brian Brett won major awards Saturday night at the B.C. Book Prizes at Government House.

Penn received the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize for her book The Real Thing: The Natural History of Ian McTaggart Cowan. The book is the first official biography of McTaggart, widely regarded as the father of Canadian ecology.

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The Haig-Brown Prize recognizes the author of a book contributing most to “the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia.” A writer and environmental activist who holds a doctorate in geography from Edinburgh University, Penn ran as the Liberal candidate for Saanich-Gulf Islands in the 2008 federal election.

Brett was awarded the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize for Tuco: The Parrot, the Others, and A Scattershot World. The third in a trilogy of memoirs, the book chronicles his life as a writer who shared an office with a pet parrot named Tuco. A renowned poet, Brett’s other memoirs are Uproar’s Your Only Music and Trauma Farm.

The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, awarded to the author of the best work of fiction, went to Kelowna writer Alix Hawley for her debut novel All True Not a Lie in It.

Alan Twigg won the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence. The award recognizes writers who have contributed to the development of literature in the province. Twigg is the founder of B.C. BookWorld, a newspaper reporting on B.C.’s literary scene.

Nanaimo writer Susan Juby took the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for The Truth Commission.

Susan Musgrave, a former Sidney poet and novelist now living in Haida Gwaii, received the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award for A Taste of Haida Gwaii: Food Gathering and Feasting at the Edge of the World (Whitecap Books). The award goes to the author and publisher of the best book in terms of public appeal, initiative, design, production and content.

Maple Ridge writer Annette LeBox and American illustrator Stephanie Graegin jointly won the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize for their book Peace is an Offering.

The winner of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize was Vancouver poet Raoul Fernandes.

Each prize provides $2,000. The winner of the Lieutenant Governor’s Award receives an additional $5,000 from the Government House Foundation.

This year’s book awards were hosted by CBC broadcaster Gregor Craigie, with Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon in attendance.

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