Award-winning Greater Victoria author Esi Edugyan and her book Washington Black head up a strong list of finalists for the 2019 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. The finalists for this award and the Victoria Children’s Book Prize were announced Wednesday. (Black Press Media file photo)

Edugyan leads shortlist for 2019 Butler Book Prize

Finalists announced for Victoria top literary awards, winners to be announced at Oct. 9 gala

When your book has already won a Giller Prize and been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, it’s kind of a given that you’ll be nominated for the top literary prize in your city.

Greater Victoria author Esi Edugyan, whose book Washington Black earned all of the above mentioned honours, leads the list of finalists for the 2019 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.

Robert Amos’ book E.J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island is one of five finalists for the 2019 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. Courtesy Touchwood Editions

The finalists for this award, given to the author of the best book from 2018 in the genres of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, and the Victoria Children’s Book Prize were announced today by the Victoria Book Prize Society and City of Victoria.The two awards will be handed out at a gala starting at 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Union Club of British Columbia.

Edugyan’s fictional book about a boy born into slavery on a Barbados plantation who joins his master on an epic journey around the world, has been highly acclaimed in the literary world and was the subject of a bidding war for television rights earlier this year. 20th Century Fox TV won that war and plans to produce a mini-series based on the book, with Edugyan serving as the executive producer.

Other finalists for the Butler Book Prize include noted artist Robert Amos, for his non-fiction book E.J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island; poet Lorna Crozier for God of Shadows; Darrel J. McLeod for his biography, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age; and Kathy Page for her novel Dear Evelyn.

Jenny Manzer’s My Life As a Diamond is a top-three finalist for the 2019 Victoria Children’s Book Prize. Courtesy Orca Book Publishers

The winner of this 16th annual award receives $5,000.

The author winning the 12th annual Victoria Children’s Book Prize, given to the Greater Victoria author or illustrator for the best children’s book published in the preceding year, also earns $5,000.

The finalists for that award include Aidan Cassie, for Sterling, Best Dog Ever; Jenny Manzer, for My Life as a Diamond, and Kit Pearson and Katherine Farris, for The Magic Boat.

Entries for the awards were adjudicated by members of the local literary arts community.

Gala tickets are $20 and are available now at Munro’s Books, Ivy’s Bookshop, Tanner’s Books, Russell Books, Bolen Books and through the Victoria Book Prize Society at 250-294-7774 or at victoriabookprizes.ca.


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