Six books released by Harbour Publishing and its related publishing companies (Douglas & McIntyre and Nightwood Editions) have been shortlisted for the 2022 BC and Yukon Book Prizes.
Harbour Publishing is headquartered in Pender Harbour where it was founded in 1974 by Howard and Mary White. The publishing company has issued more than 600 titles since its inception.
The BC and Yukon Book Prizes comprise 10 award categories that celebrate the achievements of British Columbia and Yukon writers, illustrators and publishers. The non-profit society that administers and awards the prizes was established in 1985.
Two of the books—Luschiim’s Plants: Traditional Indigenous Foods, Materials and Medicines and Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, A Memoir—are listed for two prizes each.
Luschiim’s Plants is nominated for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize and the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award. The encyclopedic work, by Cowichan Tribe Elder and botanical expert Dr. Luschiim Arvid Charlie with ethnobotanist Nancy J. Turner, is a record of traditional plant knowledge—and the Hul′q′umi′num′ language spoken on Vancouver Island.
Darrel J. McLeod’s Peyakow: Reclaiming Cree Dignity, A Memoir is the sequel to McLeod’s debut work Mamaskatch. The 2018 autobiography—by turns wry and harrowing—won the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction.
Peyakow has been nominated for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes. In the book, McLeod continues the poignant story of his impoverished youth, beset by constant fears of being dragged down by the self-destruction and deaths of those closest to him as he battles the bullying of white classmates, copes with the trauma of physical and sexual abuse, and endures painful separation from his family and culture.
Acclaimed historian and geographer Barry Gough has been shortlisted for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. His book Possessing Meares Island: A Historian’s Journey into the Past of Clayoquot Sound links early maritime history, Indigenous land rights, and modern environmental advocacy in the Clayoquot Sound region.
Nightwood Editions, for which Harbour Publishing is the exclusive distributor, released two volumes of verse that were nominated for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize.
Matt Rader’s Ghosthawk is the fifth volume of poetry by the UBC Okanagan lecturer and frequent contributor to Canadian literary magazines. Ghosthawk depicts Rader’s encounters with wildflowers in the mountains, canyons and woodlands of the Kelowna backcountry. His poems become a guidebook for wanderers who seek a home amid a world plagued by troubles.
Isabella Wang’s debut collection of poems, Pebble Swing, was also nominated for the Livesay prize. Wang’s work traces her attempt to piece together the aftermath of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, which took the life of her paternal grandmother. Its title comes from the image of stones skipping across a body of water—or fragments of Wang’s mother tongue rebounding to her across generations.
Wang, who is also the editor of the Canadian literary journal Room, will be appearing at the 2022 Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts. Another shortlisted author—Vancouver Island fiction writer Cedar Bowers, nominated for her novel Astra—will also participate in the Festival, which takes place in August.
Winners of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes will be announced in September following a juried competition.
Correction: A previous version of this story said Nightwood editions was an imprint of Harbour Publishing and was based in Pender Harbour. It is not an imprint of Harbour Publishing—in point of fact, Harbour Publishing is the exclusive distributor for Nightwood Editions. We regret the error, and apologize for the misstatement.