Shortlist 2023!

The winners will be announced at our gala event on October 11th, tickets available now via Eventbrite!

The Victoria Book Prizes Society is pleased to announce our 2023 short list!

Read the full press release here.

City of Victoria Butler Book Prize:

  • Hesitating Once to Feel Glory by Maleea Acker (Nightwood Editions) – Poetry

    • Hesitating Once to Feel Glory cartwheels from sadness to glory, then breaks into blossoms in a drought-struck landscape of longing. These are poems filled with daring leaps and precise, deft metaphors. They cajole and praise both the world and interior life with an erotic charge and enduring hope.
    • Maleea Acker lives in unceded WSÁNEC’ territories on Vancouver Island. She is the author of two previous poetry collections, The Reflecting Pool (Pedlar Press, 2009) and Air-Proof Green (Pedlar Press, 2012), as well as a non-fiction book, Gardens Aflame: Garry Oak Meadows of BC’s South Coast (New Star Books, 2012). Acker teaches geography, Canadian studies and literature at the University of Victoria and Camosun College.
  • E.J. Hughes: Canadian War Artist by Robert Amos (TouchWood Editions) – Non-Fiction

    • E. J. Hughes: Canadian War Artist features seventy artworks from the Canadian War Museum’s holdings, expanded with many personal photos and sketches from the artist’s papers. The narrative situates Hughes’s wartime work within the broader context of his life and his development as an artist. With the care and knowledge of a fellow artist, Amos draws the reader into this important chapter in the life of E. J. Hughes and Canadian art.
    • Robert Amos has published eleven books on art—including three bestselling volumes on the life and work of beloved Canadian artist E. J. Hughes—and was the arts columnist for Victoria’s Times Colonist newspaper for more than thirty years. Amos was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1995 and is an Honorary Citizen of Victoria. He lives in Oak Bay, British Columbia, with his wife, artist Sarah Amos.
  • Red Dust and Cicada Songs by Mary Bomford (Caitlin Press)– Non-Fiction

    • Red Dust and Cicada Songs describes the formative years of Mary Bomford’s  life working as a teacher in Zambia, and the long-lasting impact those years imprinted upon her.
    • Mary Bomford has written a series of family histories including Lou Hamel: CPR Telegrapher, held in the Camrose Railway Museum, and Yvonne’s Yesterdays held in the archives of the Sisters of St. Ann, Pacific Northwest.  Mary has volunteered for Amnesty International and raised funds for African AIDS Angels. She worked in Special Education for most of her teaching career.
  • This House Is Not a Home by Katłįà (Roseway Publishing) – Fiction

    • An intergenerational coming-of-age novel, This House Is Not a Home follows Kǫ̀, a Dene man who grew up entirely on the land before being taken to residential school. When he finally returns home, he struggles to connect with his family: his younger brother whom he has never met, his mother because he has lost his language, and an absent father whose disappearance he is too afraid to question.
    • Katłįà is a Dene woman from the Northwest Territories. Previously serving as a councillor for her First Nation, Yellowknives Dene, she is an activist, poet and columnist and law student in Indigeous Legal Orders. Katłįà writes about Indigenous injustices with a focus on the North. Katłįà’s first novel, Land-Water-Sky, won the NorthWoods Book Awards (2021).
  • Confessions with Keith by Pauline Holdstock (Biblioasis) – Fiction

    • Preoccupied with her fledgling literary career, intent on the all-consuming consolations of philosophy, and scrambling to meet the demands of her four children, the acutely myopic and chronically inattentive Vita Glass doesn’t notice that her house and her marriage are competing to see which can fall apart fastest.
    • Pauline Holdstock is an award-winning novelist, short fiction writer and essayist. Her books have been published in the US, the UK, Australia, Germany, Brazil and Portugal. In Canada, her work has been shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. In 2016, The Hunter and the Wild Girl won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.

City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize:

  • Union by Sara Cassidy (Orca Book Publishers) – Teen Fiction

    • Abuse at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend has left fifteen-year-old Tuck broken and untrusting. But then he falls hard for his childhood friend Grace and starts to imagine a life where he is happy. At the fast-food restaurant where he works, Tuck is asked to explore starting up a union. His new sense of purpose, combined with his growing love for Grace, helps Tuck come to terms with his pain and find the strength to begin the healing process.
    • Sara Cassidy is a writer and editor. Her children’s books have been shortlisted for many awards, including the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize, the Silver Birch Express Award, the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award and the Chocolate Lily Award.
  • I Hope/nipakosêyimon by Monique Gray Smith, illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard (Orca Book Publishers) – Picturebook

    • The hopes we have for the children in our lives are endless. We want our young people to thrive and experience all that life has to offer, but we also feel protective of them. Using simple but powerful statements, Monique Gray Smith delivers a touching message about loving, nurturing and wishing the best for our children.
    • Monique Gray Smith is an award-winning, bestselling author and public speaker. Her books cover a broad spectrum of ages, topics and emotions. Woven into all of Monique’s writing and her speaking engagements is the teaching that Love is Medicine. Her books include Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, My Heart Fills With Happiness, You Hold Me Up, Lucy and Lola, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience, Tilly and the Crazy Eights, When We Are Kind and I Hope. She has also created the young adult adaptation of Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Monique is Cree and Scottish. She lives with her family on the Traditional Territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ Peoples.
  • Little Pine Cone: Wildfires and the Natural World by Johanna Wagstaffe, illustrations by Julie McLaughlin (Orca Book Publishers)– Picturebook

    • Little Jacky is a Jack pine cone who loves living in the woods with all of her animal friends. When a fire breaks out in her forest, all her friends run to safety and the firefighters battle the flames. The fire threatens to get too close to a neighboring village and Jacky watches as the people who live there, and the fire crew, take measures to make sure everyone is safe. While the village is protected from the fire, Little Jacky is scorched by the flames and finds out that the heat is important for her to continue her life cycle.
    • Julie McLaughlin is an award-winning illustrator whose work includes commissions for editorial, advertising and publishing clients from around the world. Her previous books have been nominated for several awards, and she won the 2015 Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Non-Fiction for Why We Live Where We Live.

Get your tickets now to see the winners be announced at our gala event on October 11th, tickets available now via Eventbrite!

You can find copies of many of our shortlisted titles at Munro’s Books, or for out of print previous winners you can visit Russel Books!


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