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BC Book Prizes logo - congratulations to the 2010 finalists

For the past seven years, AbeBooks.com has been a sponsor of the BC Book Prizes – British Columbia’s top literary event. AbeBooks is headquartered in Victoria, the capital of BC, and we were founded by British Columbians in 1996 so we are thrilled to acclaim the writing talent on our doorstep.

As in previous years, AbeBooks is a sponsor for the event, and is supporting the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize. This year's finalists for the prize include a loving and painful memoir of family life on the prairies of Saskatchewan, an intimate portrait of Ted Hughes from a unique perspective, a harrowing tale of man vs. nature in the Arctic, an unflinching discussion of the metamorphosis of farming, and a frank and thorough examination of the city of Vancouver and its growing pains.

The winners will be announced on April 24th, 2010. Congratulations to all the finalists, and good luck!

Finalists for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize:

The Ice Passage: A True Story of Ambition, Disaster, and Endurance in the Arctic Wilderness by Brian Payton

The Ice Passage: A True Story of Ambition, Disaster, and Endurance in the Arctic Wilderness
Brian Payton

It begins as a mission of mercy. Four and a half years after the disappearance of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and his two ships, HMS Investigator sets sail in search of them. Instead of rescuing lost comrades, the Investigator’s officers and crew soon find themselves trapped in their own ordeal, facing starvation, madness, and death on the unknown Polar Sea. If only they can save themselves, they will bring back news of perhaps the greatest maritime achievement of the age: their discovery of the elusive Northwest Passage between Europe and the Orient.

In a narrative rich with insight and grace, Brian Payton reconstructs the final voyage of the Investigator and the trials of her officers and crew. Drawing on long-forgotten journals, transcripts, and correspondence — some never before published — Payton weaves an astonishing tale of endurance. Along the way, he vividly evokes an Arctic wilderness we now stand to lose.

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Savage Gods, Silver Ghosts: In the Wild with Ted Hughes by Ehor Boyanowsky

Savage Gods, Silver Ghosts: In the Wild with Ted Hughes
Ehor Boyanowsky

They met at a poetry reading, but Ehor Boyanowsky and British Poet Laureate Ted Hughes became friends through their shared — and unquenchable — passion for fishing. Against the backdrop of the Dean River, one of the greatest steelhead rivers in the world, the two men explored their mutual regard for the planet's wild places. Boyanowsky draws on personal correspondence, interviews, and journal entries to recreate their encounters in the 1980s and '90s, when Hughes was at the height of his power and influence, and to paint an intimate portrait of a lifelong outdoorsman, conservationist, and artist. The book also goes behind the creative process as fishing logs transmute into poetry, talk becomes action, and the queen's bard composes impromptu bawdy verse on the drive to a stag party. Boyanowsky realizes he's been privileged to see a Hughes who is different from the public persona. In these tales of male friendship and the primal act of fly fishing, the reader gets glimpses of the "nature red in tooth and claw" that drew Ted Hughes to Canada — and rekindled his love of the natural world.

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Small Beneath the Sky: A Prairie Memoir by Lorna Crozier

Small Beneath the Sky: A Prairie Memoir
Lorna Crozier

A volume of poignant recollections by one of Canada’s most celebrated poets, Small Beneath the Sky is a tender, unsparing portrait of a family and a place. Lorna Crozier vividly depicts her hometown of Swift Current, with its one main street, two high schools, and three beer parlors—where her father spent most of his evenings. She writes unflinchingly about the grief and shame caused by poverty and alcoholism. At the heart of the book is the author’s fierce love for her mother, Peggy. The narratives of daily life—sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking—are interspersed with prose poems.Lorna Crozier has authored fourteen books of poetry since the launch of first collection, Inside in the Sky, in 1976. Her collection, What the Living Won’t Let Go, won the 2000 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. She lives in North Saanich and serves as Chair in the Writing Department at the University of Victoria.

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Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life by Brian Brett

Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life
Brian Brett

Both a celebration and excoriation of farm life, the latest from author Brett (Uproar's Your Only Music) examines his family homestead on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, and the state of contemporary farming. With intimate knowledge, Brett speaks to the challenges faced by many independent farmers as well as the fleeting joys: "Rural living is an eccentric pursuit, in the same way that beauty is an eccentric pursuit." Raising fruits and vegetables, a small group of cows, chickens and pigs, Brett airs some strong criticism of modern agriculture-such as cattle slaughterhouses "that resemble medieval torture chambers"-tempered by lighthearted passages on topics like farm-fresh eggs: "I can tell what a chicken has been eating and how it's been raised when I break an egg on the frying pan." His account is also spiked with a grim sense of humor: "How do you make a small fortune at farming? Start with a large fortune." 

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Vancouver Special by Charles Demers

Vancouver Special
Charles Demers

Vancouver is at a crossroads in its history—host to the 2010 Winter Olympics and home to the poorest neighborhood in Canada, it is a young, multicultural city with a vibrant surface and a violent undercoat. In Vancouver Special, an alternative guidebook, writer and performer Charles Demers digs deep to examine the past, present, and future of Vancouver, shedding light on the various strategies and influences that have made the city what it is today (and what it should be). Vancouver Special is a love letter to the city, taking a no-holds-barred look at Lotusland with verve, wit, and insight.

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Fiction Finalists:

8 X 10
Michael Turner

Daniel O'Thunder
Ian Weir

The Golden Mean
Annabel Lyon

Having Faith in the Polar Girls’ Prison
Cathleen With

Vanishing and Other Stories
Deborah Willis