Victoria Celebrates Local Writers, Penny Draper & Patrick Lane

Penny Draper won the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize at a gala event last evening at the Union Club of BC. Mel Bolen presented the $5,000 prize for Graveyard of the Sea, the book which is part of the Coteau Books for Kids Disaster Strikes! Series.

Set in 1906 at a lighthouse on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, the book tells the story of Nell, a young girl, who helps her father with the lighthouse, learns Morse Code and becomes a hero after calling for rescue of a stricken ship. Draper has been storytelling for years and is currently writing historical fiction for youth.

Patrick Lane won the $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for Red Dog, Red Dog. The cheque was presented by Mayor Dean Fortin and co-sponsor Brian Butler. An epic novel of unrequited dreams and forestalled lives, Red Dog, Red Dog is set in the mid-1950’s, in a small town in the interior of BC in the unnamed Okanagan Valley. The novel focuses on the Stark family, centering on brothers Eddy and Tom, who are bound together by family loyalty and inarticulate love. A renowned poet, this is Lane’s first novel.

Hal Wake, Artistic Director for the Vancouver International Writers Festival was the emcee for the evening, which featured readings by all eight finalists. Linda Rogers, Poet Laureate for the City of Victoria, opened the evening with a poem about the fragility of artistic freedom. The winners and shortlisted nominees (Sarah N. Harvey, Julie Lawson, Dede Crane, David Leach, Ilana Stanger-Ross and Patricia Young) were fêted at a pre-gala reception and treated to a night at the Magnolia Hotel and Spa and the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour.

Jurors for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize were Sandra Anderson, librarian; Marlyn Horsdal, publisher, editor and writer; and Brian Brett, poet/novelist.

Jurors for the Bolen Books children’s Book Prize were Thora Howell, librarian and bookseller; Andrea Brimmell, librarian; and Bill Valgardson, writer.

Mary Virtue, President of the Victoria Book Prize Society, was thrilled with the standing room only crowd. She has already fielded questions from prospective candidates for next year’s prizes.