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D&M Books awarded BC Book Prizes

D&M Books awarded BC Book Prizes

May 2017

Congratulations to Jennifer Manuel, whose debut novel, The Heaviness of Things That Float, has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize! This prize is awarded to the author of the best original work of literary fiction in British Columbia.

In her acceptance speech, Jennifer Manuel thanked readers who took the time to tell her that reading her novel made them want to honour the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada. "I wrote the book because I care deeply about that relationship. I want us to honour that relationship. And 2017 is the year of reconciliation. I ask that this mean more than metaphor."

The Heaviness of Things That Float is a deft exploration of the delicate dynamic between First Nations communities and non-native outsiders. Through Jennifer Manuel's skillful depiction of a woman who has spent the last forty years serving as a nurse in a remote West Coast First Nations community, the novel throws down the gauntlet to every non-First Nations Canadian in this time of Truth and Reconciliation: try to know the other, but never assume to know the other.

Jennifer Manuel is an award-winning fiction author whose short fiction has been published in PRISM international, The Fiddlehead, Room Magazine and Little Fiction. In 2013, she won the Storyteller’s Award at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference. Author Diana Gabaldon describes Manuel’s writing as “astonishing in its intimacy, delicate complexity and sense of compassion.” A long-time activist in Aboriginal issues, Manuel was a teacher at elementary and secondary schools in the lands of the Tahltan and Nuu-chah-nulth peoples.

The late Richard Wagamese was also honoured at the Prizes, with Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations receiving the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award, which celebrates both the book and publisher deemed most successful in terms of public appeal, initiative, design, production and content.

Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations is the carefully curated selection of everyday reflections, finding lessons in both the mundane and sublime and drawing inspiration from interactions with nature. Recognized as one of Canada's foremost First Nations authors and storyteller, Richard Wagamese was an Ojibway from the Wabaseemoong First Nation in northwestern Ontario, and spent much of his later years in Kamloops, BC. He is remembered for his many inspiring contributions to Canadian literature.

The BC Book Prizes are awarded annually in seven categories, with the intent to celebrate the best writing and publishing in the province. The awards carry a cash prize of $2000 plus a certificate. The winners of the BC Book Prizes were announced at an awards gala in Vancouver on April 29, 2017.

Read more about The Heaviness of Things That Float >>