The City of Vancouver Book Award is a $2,000 prize that has been presented annually since 1989 to authors of books in any genre that demonstrate excellence and contribute to the appreciation and understanding of Vancouver’s history, unique character or the achievements of its residents.vancouver

The book may be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or drama written for adults or children and may deal with any aspects of the city: history, geography, current affairs, or the arts. The winning book must also exhibit excellence in content, illustration, design, and/or format.

The prize is funded by interest earned from the City’s Publishing Reserve which was established in 1977 as a permanent legacy for writers and publishers. The fund received royalties generated from Vancouver’s First Century: a photo history of Vancouver edited by City staff. The third edition of the book, renamed Vancouver: A City Album, for many years generated royalty payments for the fund

The City of Vancouver Book Award 2009

Lee Henderson, The Man Game, (Penguin Canada) -Winner

Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, (Vintage Canada)

Meredith Quartermain, Nightmarker, (NeWest Press)

Hope in Shadows wins 2008 City of Vancouver Book Award

Brad Cran, poet, essayist and photographer, and Gillian Jerome, poet and English teacher at the University of British Columbia, are the winners of the 2008 City of Vancouver Book Award for Hope in Shadows (Arsenal Pulp Press and Pivot Legal Society), a bold collection of powerful photographs and personal stories that document the lives of residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Mayor Sam Sullivan presented the $2,000 award to Cran and Jerome during a Vancouver City Council meeting today, marking the 20th anniversary of the City of Vancouver Book Awards.

An independent jury cited the authors’ work for its surprising revelations about residents of the area who are not bound by poverty or addiction but instead driven by a sense of community, kinship and hope. For the past five years, Pivot Legal Society’s annual Hope in Shadows photography contest has empowered residents of the Downtown Eastside by providing them with disposable cameras to document their lives, resulting in more than 20,000 images of the neighbourhood, giving residents an artistic means to enter the ongoing and stormy dialogue over the place they call home.

Hope in Shadows is an intimate look at what it really means to live in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood. The result is full of grace, dignity and plain simple truths that put a human face on the single most misunderstood community in Canada.



2008 Finalists

Brad Cran and Gillian Jerome
Hope in Shadows

Gary Geddes

Eve Lazaraus
At Home with History

Kaija Pepper
The Man Next Door Dances: The Art of Peter Bingham

The four short listed titles were chosen by an independent jury that included freelance editor (and former Publisher at Raincoast Books/Polestar) Michelle Benjamin; Sophia Books owner Marc Fournier; and Fernanda Viveiros, Executive Director of the Federation of BC Writers.


Judges: University of B.C. English professor Glenn Deer; bookseller Marc Fournier; and novelist and screenwriter Karen X. Tulchinsky.

Detailed author information

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Judges: Rod Clarke, bookseller; Glenn Deer, University of B.C. English professor; and Laurie Roggeman, former president of the Friends of the Vancouver Public Library.

News Release - Winner of the 2006 Award
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Judges: Keith Bunnell, University of B.C. librarian; Laurie Roggeman, Vancouver booklover and former president of the Friends of the Vancouver Public Library; and author and cultural advocate Max Wyman

News Release - Winner of the 2005 Award
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Judges: George Fetherling, author; Keith Bunnell, UBC librarian; Crystal Allen, bookseller
News Release - Winner of 2004 Award
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*Lincoln Clarkes, Heroines, essays by Ken Dietrich et al., Anvil Press
*Reid Shier, ed, Stan Douglas: Every Building on 100 Block West Hastings, Contemporary Art Gallery/Arsenal Pulp Press
John Clague and Bob Turner, Vancouver, City on the Edge, Tricouni Press
Fiona Tinwei Lam, Intimate Distances, Nightwood Editions/Harbour Publishing
Judges: Anne Yandle, librarian; George Fetherling, author; Michael Varty, bookseller
News Release - Winner of 2003 Award
2003 Finalists and Winners Announced

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*Keith Carlson et al., A Sto:lo-Coast Salish Historical Atlas, Douglas and McIntyre

Doreen Armitage, Burrard Inlet: A History, Harbour Publishing
Cynthia Flood, Making a Stone of the Heart, Key Porter Books
Bart Campbell, The Door is Open: Memoir of a Soup Kitchen Volunteer, Anvil Press
Judges: Brenda Peterson, librarian; Denise Ryan, editor; Michael Varty, bookseller
News Release - Winner of 2002 Award

*Madeleine Thien, Simple Recipes, McClelland & Stewart

Douglas Coupland, City of Glass – Douglas Coupland’s Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre
Timothy Taylor, Stanley Park, Knopf Canada
Gary Wyatt, ed., Susan Point: Coast Salish Artist, Douglas & McIntyre
Judges: Brenda Peterson, librarian; Shamina Senaratne, writer; and Don Stewart, bookseller
News Release - Announcement of Finalists
News Release - Winner of 2001 Award

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*Lilia D’Acres & Donald Luxton, Lions Gate, Talonbooks

Christine Allen & Collin Varner, Gardens of Vancouver, Raincoast Books
Wayson Choy, Paper Shadows: A Chinatown Childhood, Penguin Canada
Wing Chung Ng, The Chinese in Vancouver: The Pursuit of Identity and Power, 1945-80, UBC Press
Judges: Shamina Senaratne, writer; Nina Smart, SFU librarian; and Joseph Stewart, bookseller

*Bud Osborn, Keys to Kingdoms, Get to the Point Publishing

Shawn Blore and the editors of Vancouver magazine, Vancouver: Secrets of the City, Arsenal Pulp Press
Grant Buday, White Lung, Anvil Press
Judges: Joseph Stewart, bookseller; Mark Leier, SFU historian and author; and Bob Sarti, journalist

*Chuck Davis, The Greater Vancouver Book: An Urban Encyclopaedia, Linkman Press

Betty O’Keefe and Ian Macdonald, The Mulligan Affair: Top Cop on the Take, Heritage House
Carmen Rodriguez, And a Body to Remember With,  Arsenal Pulp Press
Judges: Donna Brendon, bookseller, retail consultant; Ian Chunn, B.C. Book Prizes; Vickie Jensen, author.

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*Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, The New Spirit: Modern Architecture in Vancouver, 1938-1963, Douglas & McIntyre/The Canadian Centre for Architecture

John A. Cherrington, Vancouver at the Dawn: A Turn-of-the-Century Portrait, Harbour
Fred Thirkell and Bob Scullion, Postcards from the Past: Edwardian Images of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Heritage House
Judges: Laura Hackett, bookseller; Judy Taylor, chair of the Vancouver Public Library board of directors; Anne Yandle, former head of UBC Special Collections

*Wayson Choy, The Jade Peony, Douglas & McIntyre

Grant Buday, Monday Night Man, Anvil Press
Robert A. J. McDonald, Making Vancouver: Class, Status & Social Boundaries 1863-1913, UBC Press
Judges: Mary Ann Cantillon, librarian; Irene Howard, author; Brahm Kornbluth, bookseller

*Elspeth Cameron, Earle Birney: A Life, Penguin Books

Lois Simmie with illus. Cynthia Nugent, Mister Got to Go, Red Deer College Press
Ulli Stelzer & Robert Davidson, Eagle Transforming: The Art of Robert Davidson, Douglas & McIntyre
Judges: Irene Howard, author; Nancy Stubbs, librarian; Greg Willett, bookseller

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*Denise Chong, The Concubine's Children, Penguin Books

Paul Grescoe & Karl Spreitz, Vancouver: Visions of a City, Beautiful B.C.
Robin Ward, Robin Ward's Heritage West Coast, Harbour
Michael J. Yates, Line Screw, McClelland & Stewart
Judges: Andrea Davies, owner, Hager Books; Chuck Davis, freelance writer; Bruce Macdonald, author

*Bruce Macdonald, Vancouver: A Visual History, Talonbooks

Irene Howard, The Struggle for Social Justice in British Columbia, UBC Press
Michael Kluckner & John Atkin, Heritage Walks Around Vancouver, Whitecap
Judges: Gordon Elliott, editor; John Oliphant, writing instructor; Lucy Stewart, owner, Blackberry Books

*Gerald Straley, Trees of Vancouver: A Guide to the Common & Unusual Trees of the City, UBC Press

Elizabeth Bower, No Forwarding Address, Douglas & McIntyre
Paul Grescoe, Flesh Wound, Douglas & McIntyre
Gregory Edwards, Hidden Cities, Talonbooks
Timothy Oke & Graeme Wynn, Vancouver & Its Regions, UBC Press
Judges: Jean Barman, historian, author; Janice Douglas, librarian; Margaret Gabriel, booksellerback to top

*Michael Kluckner, Vanishing Vancouver, Whitecap

Cyril Leonoff, Leonard Frank: An Enterprising Life, Talonbooks
Robin Ward, Robin Ward's Vancouver, Harbour
Judges: Sue Baptie, archivist; Sean Rossiter, freelance writer; Don Stewart, bookseller

*Sky Lee, Disappearing Moon Cafe, Douglas & McIntyre

Rosemary Brown, Being Brown: A Very Public Life, Random House
Stan Persky, Buddy's: Meditations on Desire, New Star
John Schreiner, The Refiners: A Century of BC Sugar, Douglas & McIntyre

*Paul Yee, Saltwater City: An Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre
Judges: Jean Barman, historian; Russell Kelly; Doreen Westgarth

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