Surrey’s ‘City of Stories’ nominated for BC Book Prize

K. Jane Watt’s work shortlisted for award, along with novel by Cloverdale writer Andrea MacPherson

SURREY — A “City of Stories” book published by the City of Surrey is in the running for a BC Book Prize, along with a work of fiction written by a Cloverdale-based author.

The city’s history book, written by K. Jane Watt and released last year, made the awards shortlist, announced Monday by West Coast Book Prize Society.

“Surrey: A City of Stories,” created as a “Surrey legacy project” in honour of last year’s “Canada 150” celebrations, features more than 500 visuals, including 332 photos, 40 maps, 73 artifacts and 61 documents.

Watt, an award-winning writer and researcher who lives in Fort Langley, received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing for her book “High Water: Living with the Fraser Floods.”

• READ MORE: ‘Surrey: A City of Stories’ highlights a history that is sobering, inspiring, from Sept. 2017.

“Surrey: A City of Stories” is shortlisted for a BC Book Prize in the category of Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, which recognizes “the author(s) of the book that contributes most to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia.”

Other nominees in the category are Sarah de Leeuw (“Where It Hurts,” NeWest Press), Kotaro Hayashi, Fumio “Frank” Kanno, Henry Tanaka, and Jim Tanaka (“Changing Tides: Vanishing Voices of Nikkei Fishermen and Their Families,” Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre), Marianne Ignace and Ronald E. Ignace (“Secwépemc People, Land, and Laws: Yerí7 re Stsq’ey’s-kucw,” McGill-Queen’s University Press) and Travis Lupick (“Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction,” Arsenal Pulp Press).

Another BC Book Prizes finalist is Cloverdale-based author Andrea MacPherson, whose “What We Once Believed” (Caitlin Press) is nominated for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, awarded to the author of the best work of fiction.

MacPherson, who teaches creative writing and literature, is the author of two novels and three poetry collections.

Here’s how “What We Once Believed” is described on the BC Book Prizes website: “Maybe Collins’ life is upended by the appearance of her mother Camille, who disappeared nine years earlier. Now an acclaimed author of a memoir about motherhood and Women’s Liberation, Camille is distant and confounding, and Maybe tries to piece together her mother’s life – why she left, the truth behind her famous memoir, and the future of their fractured relationship. When Maybe discovers that her mother is writing another book—a book about her return—the betrayal is fierce and painful, and Maybe resolves to teach Camille a lesson that will change things forever.”

The 34th annual BC Book Prizes includes seven awards categories. The winners will be announced at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala on May 4 at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront in Vancouver.

Some of the shortlisted authors will be part of BC Book Prizes On Tour, a “reading tour” that will take finalists to schools and public venues in communities across B.C. in April and May.

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K. Jane Watt.

Andrea MacPherson.

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