The 2013 City of Vancouver Book Award nominations have been announced. The 25th annual City of Vancouver Book Award will be presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards Gala at Science World (1455 Quebec St.) on Nov. 22. Poetry, memoir and non-fiction books – all very Vancouver-centric – are up for the award, which is picked by a jury that includes a retired librarian.
The books are:
Jancis M. Andrews, The Ballad of Mrs. Smith (Hedgerow Press) - According to the publisher’s website, The Ballad of Mrs. Smith “is a narrative sequence of poems, telling the story of an abused wife who flees from her home in an upscale neighbourhood to find refuge in a rooming house in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside” and says the book is “Enlivened with humour and a keen eye for detail, the poems deepen our understanding of an often-neglected segment of society.” Author Jancis M. Andrews was born in England in 1934, ran away from a violent home life at 14, and immigrated to Canada with her husband and two children in 1965. She obtained a degree in Creative Writing from UBC at the age of 53. She lives in Sechelt, B.C.
Brad Cran, Ink on Paper (Nightwood Editions) - More poetry, this time from former City of Vancouver Poet Laureate Brad Cran. The publisher describes Cran’s second book of poems as “a compelling collection of political poems that seek to elucidate our relationships with our surroundings as well as those who surround us… Cran’s poems are a fresh, provocative examination of urban culture, the natural world and issues of social justice, told with keen awareness and a gritty poetic precision.”
Amber Dawn, How Poetry Saved My Life (Arsenal Pulp Press) - Dawn’s book is a memoir of her time as a sex trade worker, and follows her first a novel, Sub Rosa. Reviewing How Poetry Saved My Life in the National Post, Stacey May Fowles writes, “Amber Dawn has written a powerful and necessary meditation on this very need for personal agency…”
Harold Kalman and Robin Ward, Exploring Vancouver – The Architectural Guide (Douglas & McIntyre) - Photographs and text provide an extensive tour of the city’s past and present buildings. Architecture critic Trevor Boddy writes, “Easily the most substantial, witty and fearless companion for touring the buildings/streets of Vancouver—all other guides are fly-bys.”
Sean Kheraj, Inventing Stanley Park (UBC Press) – An environmental history of the gem in Vancouver’s eyeball, with illustrations and textual details.
According to the Awards’ press release, “The five shortlisted titles were chosen by an independent jury that included: Elee Kraljii Gardener, an award-winning poet and director of the Thursdays Writing Collective; Paul Whitney, a retired City librarian; and Andrea Davies, owner of Hager Books in Kerrisdale.”