Husband and wife vie for city book prize
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
An exciting literary evening will climax Oct. 17 at the Union Club when one of five local writers wins the $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.
"If people want tickets, they should get them quickly," says Victoria Book Prize Society president Bess Jillings, noting only 200 of the $10 tickets remain available.
The event features readings by the five finalists, refreshments and a chance to mingle with the authors and have books autographed by finalists.
The 2007 finalists include a husband and wife as well as last year's winner. They are:
- Bill Gaston, author of Gargoyles, a book of edgy short stories nominated last year as best English-language fiction for the Governor General's Award. According to publisher House of Anansi, gargoyles are "physical manifestations of the disfigurements and contortions to which we human beings subject ourselves."
- PK Page, one of Canada's most acclaimed poets, for Hand Luggage, her poetic account of her years spent travelling as the wife of a diplomat. It's a book of "penetrating observations and probing questions arising from richly varied cultural experience frankly and lovingly examined," says a review by Stan Dragland on the website of publisher Porcupine Quill.
- Patricia Young, known previously for her poetry, for Airstream, 14 short stories published by Biblioasis that, according to the publisher, "explore the small victories and lurching disappointments" of everyday life in unsentimental style. To wit: "a house fire sets in motion the end of a marriage as a couple re-examine the meaning of truth and commitment."
- Terence Young (Patricia's husband), a St. Michaels University School teacher, for his book of poetry, Moving Day. Publisher Signature Editions notes that "some poems touch on the dreamy qualities of memory, its tendency to slip into the magical, and still others turn a quirky eye onto child-rearing, education, home repair." Young is a previous winner for his novel, After Goodlake's.
- Mark Zuehlke, last year's winner for Holding Juno -- his view of the Normandy invasion -- this year goes back to the War of 1812 with For Honour's Sake, a non-fiction account published by Knopf Canada. "This is a really readable history of that war," says Jillings.
Zuehlke explores who really won through "never-before-seen archival material" and covers not only the horrors of war but the unsatisfactory negotiations in Ghent that ended it but have resonated for nearly two centuries, says the publisher's website.
The five finalists were winnowed from about 50 entries. Local authors, who did not make the cut include Silken Laumann (Child's Play; Random House); Terry Glavin (Waiting for the Macaws; Penguin) and Katy Hutchinson (Walking After Midnight; Raincoast).
The jury will be revealed on the evening of the awards; MC will be John Gould, a past Giller Prize nominee and University of Victoria writing instructor.
The Victoria Butler Book Prize is funded by the city of Victoria, with administrative and some event costs covered by philianthropist Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies. Other contributing sponsors include the Union Club, the Greater Victoria Public Library and the Magnolia Hotel.
Tickets are available at Munro's, Bolen Books, Ivy's or by calling 592-1464.