What's Being Said



St. John's author and newspaper editor Russell Wangersky has won the fifth annual B.C. Award for Canadian Non-fiction - at $40,000, the single richest non-fiction prize in the country.

- The Globe & Mail

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A highly personal account of his eight-year stint as a volunteer firefighter, Burning Down the House was not the book Wangersky intended to write or the story he pitched and ultimately signed with his publisher. "I had meant it to be far more of a surface book," a book about the subject of firefighting, Wangersky said. Instead, he created a personal narrative about the trauma of attending to emergencies ranging from car accidents to medical crises to five-alarm blazes. "I love to fight fires," said Wangersky, his voice shaking at the podium. "But I won't
again."

This year's jury included Toronto Star publisher John Cruickshank, author and media host Andreas Schroeder, and journalist Stevie Cameron. Jury chair Cruickshank said the trio struggled to cut 163 entries down to a longlist of 14 and to choose the winner from four "remarkable books." The jury also debated the nature of the prize, but ultimately decided that dazzling writing should take the spotlight. "This is a literary award," said Cruickshank, who called Wangersky's book "a story extraordinarily well told."

- Quill & Quire

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Russell Wangersky has won British Columbia's National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction for vividly describing what it's like to respond to fires and other harrowing emergencies...Wangersky, editor of The Telegram newspaper in St. John's, said in an interview that fighting fires is "the most colourful, exciting, bright, astounding work, but it burrows in under your skin and comes back out at bad times."

- The Vancouver Sun

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Newfoundland writer Russell Wangersky has won the country's richest award for non-fiction writing.

Wangersky, who is the editor of the St. John's Telegram, was named the winner of British Columbia's National Award for non-fiction for his book, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself, an account of his years as a volunteer firefighter. The award comes with a $40,000 prize.

"It's the first one I've won. I've been a finalist for other prizes. It's a tremendous thing. It is almost in its own way a career-changing award for a writer," Wangersky said.

- Edmonton Journal

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Bookninja pal Russell Wangersky has won the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, making him truly bi-polar. Excuse me, bi-coastal. Congratulations, Russell. You're buying. The book is a great read. Go buy it!

- bookninja.com

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Newfoundland author Russell Wangersky has won a $40,000 prize for a book chronicling his time as a volunteer firefighter...The other writers who were shortlisted for the award are Daphne Bramham for The Secret Lives of Saints: Child Brides and Lost Boys in Canada's Polygamous Mormon Sect (Random House Canada); Mary Henley Rubio for Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (Doubleday Canada); and Christopher Shulgan for The Soviet Ambassador: The Making of the Radical Behind Perestroika" (McClelland & Stewart).

With a prize of $40,000 and national scope, the B.C. Award is the richest non-fiction book prize in Canada and the non-fiction counterpart to the Giller Prize for fiction and the Griffin Poetry Prize.

Jurors include Toronto Star publisher John Cruickshank; journalist, author and commentator Stevie Cameron; and author, TV and radio host Andreas Schroeder.

- Canadian Press

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2014 Award Winner

Videos from the 2014 Presentation Ceremony

Photos from the 2014 Presentation Ceremony

2014 Award Finalists
Media Resources

2014 Jury Panel

2014 Longlist


BC's National Award for Non-Fiction information


Previous Award Winners