Conceived and provided by
Alan Twigg, this reference site is
an adjunct to the BC BookLook
news service, sponsored by
Pacific BookWorld News Society.

City of Vancouver Book Awards

CLICK HERE for current information dating back to 2009

Below is background information for years 1989 to 2008

This following links in blue provide lists of finalists for preceding years of the Awards, with each of the winning titles indicated by an asterisk (*).

2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989

2008 Book Award Winners and Finalists

Hope in Shadows

Brad Cran and Gillian Jerome
Hope in Shadows (Arsenal Pulp Press and Pivot Legal Society)

The Book: Residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are not bound by poverty or addiction but rather driven by a sense of community, kinship and, above all, hope. For each of the past five years, Pivot Legal Society’s annual Hope in Shadows photography contest has empowered residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside by providing them with 200 disposable cameras to document their lives—thus giving them an artistic means to enter the ongoing and often stormy dialogue over the place they call home. Since the contest’s inception, DTES residents have taken over 20,000 images of their neighbourhood. Working with this archive, Brad Cran and Gillian Jerome have collected the personal stories behind these stunning photographs.

In surprising and astounding ways, Hope in Shadows will not only change the way you think about the Downtown Eastside and other impoverished neighbourhoods; it will also change your view of society as we know it.

Jury Comments: Our jury found this book to be gritty, honest, and respectfully created. They were moved by the great deal of optimism present in these pages as the authors document the people of a neighbourhood that has such a grim outward reputation.

Brad Cran is a poet, essayist and photographer and has been a contributing editor at Geist magazine as well as publisher of Smoking Lung Press. In 2004, Brad received a Writing and Publishing commission at the Vancouver Arts Awards from Geist Publisher Stephen Osborne.

Gillian Jerome is a poet, editor and sessional instructor in the English Department at the University of British Columbia. She is also a contributing editor at Geist magazine.


  • Gary Geddes for Falsework (Goose Lane Editions)
  • Eve Lazaraus for At Home with History (Anvil Press)
  • Kaija Pepper for The Man Next Door Dances: The Art of Peter Bingham (Dance Collection Press)

Judges: 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.


2007 Book Award Finalists and Winner

Vancouver Remembered

Michael Kluckner

Vancouver Remembered (Whitecap Books)

Jury Comments: A gentle masterpiece which reveals layers of changing colour and light on Vancouver’s evolving neighbourhoods using the author’s own precise research and beautifully-illustrated watercolours.

The Book: This book touches on crucial points in the city’s history that determined its contemporary condition. At one time, Vancouver sat on the verge of a profound transition, the details of which are oft-forgotten in the historical musings of other books. In Vancouver Remembered, Kluckner fleshes out the layers of change endemic to the city’s most crucial points of development with a clarity and poignancy accessible to serious historians and new city residents alike. The book maps out th city’s growth in two parts, Commercial Vancouver and Residential Vancouver. Kluckner delivers a comprehensive story a far-reaching as the city limits. Through Words and images, he traces the rise of the creative underclass and the city’s wealthiest landowners, constructing a critical narrative that is as vital to understanding Vancouver’s past as it is to contextualizing the present.

Michael Kluckner is a writer and artist whose early books focus on the history of Canadian cities, heritage, planning issues and art, and include Vancouver the Way it Was, Vanishing Vancouver, Paving Paradise, and British Columbia in Watercolour. They won numerous awards, including the Duthie Prize, the Vancouver Book Prize, the Toronto Book Prize (short list), the Hallmark Society (Victoria) Award of Merit, and the Heritage Canada Medal of Achievement. He spends his life painting, writing, and travelling in search of elusive, disappearing places and the stories that can tell. A Vancouver native, he has written and illustrated a series of books that beautifully capture its atmosphere wile recording its history.


  • Grant Arnold and Michael Turner for Fred Herzog: Vancouver Photographs (Douglas and McIntyre and the Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Anita Rau Badami for Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? (Knopf Canada)
  • Brett Josef Grubisic for The Age of Cities (Arsenal Pulp Press)

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


2006 Book Award Winners and Finalists

Jean Barman
Stanley Park’s Secret: The Forgotten Families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch and Brockton Point (Harbour Publishing)

Stanley Park's Secret Jury Comments: This thoroughly-researched and convincingly-delivered analysis of the suppressed history of First Nations and Kanakan occupation of Stanley Park explodes the myth that it was once a pristine wilderness.

The Book: Working in collaboration with descendants of the families who once lived in the park area, historian Jean Barman skilfully weaves together the families’ oral histories with hundreds of archival documents, Vancouver Parks Board records and court proceedings to reveal a troubling, yet deeply important facet of BC’s history.

This investigation of the history of Stanley Park unseats the assumption that the park was a pristine wilderness when it was first created in 1888. In truth, much of the park had been logged and it was home to a number of settlements. Aboriginal people lived at the villages of Whoi Whoi, now Lumberman’s Arch, and nearby Chaythoos. Some of the immigrant Hawaiians earlier employed in the fur trade took jobs at the lumber mills that dotted Burrard Inlet from the 1860s and settled at “Kanaka Ranch,” just outside the park’s southeast boundary. Only in 1958 was the last of the many families forced out of their homes and the park returned to its supposed pristine character.

Jean Barman is an historian in the Department of Educational Studies at UBC. She has written many scholarly and bestselling books including The Remarkable Adventures of Portuguese Joe Silvey and the definitive West Beyond the West: A History of British Columbia. Stanley Park’s Secret was shortlisted for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize and the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in 2006. Barman’s long-time impassioned pursuit to understand and uncover the history of Western Canada has earned her a position as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Barman lives in Vancouver with her husband, historian Roderick Barman.

James P. Delgado
Waterfront:The Illustrated Maritime History of Greater Vancouver, Stanton Atkins & Dosil.

WaterfrontJury Comments: This elegant and deliciously illustrated book provides a comprehensive history of local maritime history, geography, industry and culture.

The Book: The sea and a mighty river dominate Greater Vancouver. Dramatic stories abound along its waterfront – of this place, its people, ships and events that shaped a city, a region and a nation. Waterfront is a magnificently illustrated, authoritative and lively tour of the dynamic ebb and flow between the water, the surrounding land and, above all, the people who strove and dreamed along the waterfront.

James P. Delgado is the Executive Director of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and for fifteen years headed the Vancouver Maritime Museum. He is a journalist and co-host of the documentary TV series The Sea Hunters. Recently, he published Racers and Rovers: 100 Years of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Adventures of a Sea Hunter: In Search of Famous Shipwrecks. In 2006, Waterfront received the Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award at the BC Book Prizes. James is currently travelling extensively with his new position, but maintains a home base in Vancouver.


  • Derek Hayes, Historical Atlas of Vancouver and the Lower Fraser Valley, Douglas & McIntyre
  • Abraham J. Rogatnick, Ian M. Thom, and Adele Weder for B.C. Binning, Douglas & McIntyre

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.


2005 Book Award Winner and Finalists

Lance Berelowitz
Dream City: Vancouver and the Global Imagination (Douglas & McIntyre)

A timely and imaginatively presented investigation of Vancouver’s unique development as an urban centre.

The story behind Vancouver’s emerging urban form: the buildings, public spaces, extraordinary landscapes and cultural values that have turned the city into the poster-child of North American urbanism.

Located at the edge of a continent and at the corresponding edge of national public consciousness, Vancouver has developed in unique and unanticipated ways. It is now emerging as an experiment in contemporary city-making, with international interest in Vancouver as a model of post-industrial urbanism increasing exponentially.

Lance Berelowitz explores the links between the city’s seductive natural setting, its turbulent political history and changing civic values, and its planning and design culture. He also makes the startling case that Vancouver is to Canada’s imagination what Los Angeles is to the American-a mythologized place of endless possibilities, while being grounded in an altogether more limited set of socio-economic and environmental limitations.

Lance Berelowitz is a well-known urban commentator and award-winning writer. He has written extensively about Vancouver, presented papers on the city at international conferences and is sought out by the media to comment on urban issues. He was the Editor-in-Chief of Vancouver’s successful 2010 Olympic Winter Games Bid Book. He lives in Vancouver.


  • Wayson Choy, All That Matters, Doubleday Canada
  • Leslie Robertson and Dara Culhane (editors), In Plain Sight: Reflections on Life in Downtown Eastside Vancouver, Talonbooks
  • Various authors, The Vancouver Stories: West Coast Fiction from Canada’s Best Writers, Raincoast Books

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


2004 Book Award Winners and Finalists

*Daniel Francis, L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver, Arsenal Pulp Press

L.D. Taylor
LD is the colourful biography of Louis Taylor, the longest-serving mayor in Vancouver’s history. Taylor’s story is also the story of Vancouver in the early decades of the 20th century, a young city experiencing a turbulent adolescence.

Louise Taylor, or LD as he was known, arrived in the city from Chicago in 1896. He jumped into politics in 1902 when he successfully ran for license commissioner. His political career was a myriad of highs and lows including everything from implications in a police investigation to establishing the airport and the water board.

His private life was a virtual soap opera that mirrored the ups and downs of his political career as he found himself mired in bigamy and divorce scandals.

Click here to enlarge City of Vancouver Proclamation ” Mayor Louis D. Taylor Day”

LD.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver vividly documents the life of a man who dominated the city for years, and the integral role he played in shaping the Vancouver of today.

Daniel Francis is a historian and the author/editor of more than fifteen books, including The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture and Imagining Ourselves: Classics of Canadian Non-Fiction, both published by Arsenal Pulp Press. His other books include Copying People: Photographing British Columbia First Nations 1860-1940, The Great Chase: A History of World Whaling, and New Beginnings: A Social History of Canada.


  • Annabel Lyon, The Best Thing for You, McClelland & Stewart
  • Paul Yee, The Bone Collector’s Son, Tradewind Books
  • Caroline Adderson, Sitting Practice, Thomas Allen Publishers (honourable-mention)
  • Maggie de Vries, Missing Sarah, Penguin Canada (honourable-mention)
  • John Punter, The Vancouver Achievement: Urban Planning & Design, UBC Press (honourable-mention)

Judges: George Fetherling, author; Keith Bunnell, UBC librarian; Crystal Allen, bookseller


2003 Book Award Finalists and Winners

*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



2002 Book Award Finalists and Winner

Sto:lo Historical Atlas
  • *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


2001 Book Award Finalists and Winner

Simple Recipes
  • *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


2000 Book Award Finalists and Winners

  • *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


1999 Book Award Finalists and Winner

Keys to Kingdoms
  • *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


1998 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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.


1997 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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


1996 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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


1995 Book Award Finalists and Winners

  • *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


1994 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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


1993 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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


1992 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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, bookseller


1991 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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


1990 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *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


1989 Book Award Finalists and Winner

  • *Paul Yee, Saltwater City: An Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre

Judges: Jean Barman, historian; Russell Kelly; Doreen Westgarth