Finalists Named for Tenth Annual BC National Non-Fiction Award

December 12, 2013


VANCOUVER – The 2014 shortlist for one of the largest non-fiction book prizes in the country –the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction – was announced today by Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation. The award carries a prize of $40,000.

Now in its tenth year, the annual award has featured such winners as Modris Eksteins, Charlotte Gill, John Vaillant, Ian Brown, Russell Wangersky, Lorna Goodison, Noah Richler, Rebecca Godfrey, and Patrick Lane.

This year's finalists are Carolyn Abraham for The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us; Thomas King for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America; J. B. MacKinnon for The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be; Margaret MacMillan for The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914; and Graeme Smith for The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan.

"This year's shortlisted books feature superlative writing and explore issues that extend beyond Canada to the world as a whole," said Mitchell. "They represent an excellent selection of non-fiction books, and we thank the jury for their work in narrowing the field of 141 books nominated for this year's prize to these finalists."

The shortlist was chosen by jury members Jared Bland, books editor at The Globe and Mail; Daphne Bramham, a columnist for The Vancouver Sun and a critically acclaimed author; and Anna Porter, an award-winning novelist, non-fiction writer, and one of Canada's most respected publishers.

The jury will announce the winner of the prize at a special presentation ceremony in Vancouver in February, 2014.


The finalists are described in the following citations from the jury:

Carolyn Abraham for The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us
Who are we? Where do we come from? Where do we belong? Carolyn Abraham set out to answer those questions for herself and her family. Blending memoir, travel adventure and mystery with deft explanations of genetic genealogy and the science of DNA, Abraham takes readers across three continents through dusty archives and pristine laboratories in her quest to find her ancestors – a juggler and a sea captain. Rigorously researched and finely written, Abraham's discovery of some disturbing facts about her ancestors leads to the inescapable conclusion of our common humanity.


Thomas King for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America
King's wry and, at times, angry recounting of the relationship between first nations people and those who came after is remarkable work. Highly personal, yet remarkably well-researched and documented, he lays bare uncomfortable truths about history, politics and modern North American culture. Engaging, thought-provoking and entertaining, King's iconoclastic and important book challenges us to think differently about both the past and the future.


J. B. MacKinnon for The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be
In lush, hypnotic prose, J.B. MacKinnon, one of the country's best environmental journalists, paints an unforgettable picture of a long-gone world, while inspiring us to believe that something like it could once again be achieved. MacKinnon's account of the glories of a natural world largely erased by human intervention is lyrical yet detailed, and full of fascinating creatures and stories. By showing us a world we previously couldn't imagine, he challenges us to do all we can to comprehend nature's beauty so that we may attempt to restore it to its former glory.

Margaret MacMillan for The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914\
Margaret MacMillan has both the courage and the talent to plunge into the events that led from the longest, most prosperous peace Europe had ever known to the astonishing butchery that was the First World War. The conflict cost a whole generation of Europeans – twenty million dead and an even larger number of wounded. A formidable accomplishment by a great historian, this book also provides delicious portraits of the times and of the men who led, stumbled, and strutted their way into a war they all assumed would not, could not, happen. MacMillan's riveting story-telling moves the reader along the treacherous paths that led to the devastation. Along the way, she questions our own assumptions about the beginning of the 21st potential for global violence.

Graeme Smith for The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan
A disturbing, depressing, and essential book about Canada's long, misguided Afghanistan mission, The Dogs Are Eating Them Now is the culmination of Graeme Smith's years on the ground in that nation, largely spent reporting for The Globe and Mail. But Smith was no average correspondent, spending much of his time outside designated safe areas, and, as this introspective and piercing book makes clear, questioning both the war and his role in propagating its core narratives. It is the book the war deserves: visceral and terrifying yet ambiguous and questioning. Smith is as brave in addressing our failings as he was in reporting from the battlefields.


The BC Award is an annual national prize of the British Columbia Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation established and endowed by the Province of British Columbia in 2003 to celebrate excellence in the arts, humanities, enterprise, and community service.

For more information on the award and this year's finalists, please call 604 261-9777 or visit www.bcachievement.com


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Contact:
Nora Newlands
Executive Director
British Columbia Achievement Foundation
604-261-3348
info@bcachievement.com
www.bcachievement.com

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British Columbia Achievement Foundation
T. 604.261.9777 | Toll Free 866.882.6088 (in BC)
E. info@bcachievement.com