Last night was the B.C. Book Prizes gala. I was glad to be there, glad to be nominated for a prize, though I didn’t “win”. (Here’s the link to the winning titles!) It was lovely to see old friends, meet some new people, and to realize again what a vital literary community we have in this province on the far edge of the country, west of the Rocky Mountains. People put so much effort into the event, from the jurors (and how nice it was to spend a bit of time with Jean Barman, a historian I believe to be a national treasure) to the organizing committee to the librarians, booksellers, and everyone else who gathered to honour the nominated writers.
I want to commend my own publisher, Mona Fertig, at Mother Tongue Publishing. She is so supportive, so enthusiastic, and she runs her business out of an old heritage house near Ganges on Salt Spring Island. She celebrates the unsung artists of our province, the writers who are working in forms not part of the best-seller culture, and she insists on their importance. Not “instead of” but “as well as”. It’s harder to do this work, I know, with financial constraints and reluctance on the part of much of the media to embrace what might not seem popular. Last night Mona was her bounteous generous self and I was glad to be there for the reception and dinner as well as the awards ceremony for the opportunity to share a glass or two of wine and to know that my book, Euclid’s Orchard, was possible because of her encouragement, her faith.