Veteran novelist and playwright Bill Gaston won the 2018 Butler Book Prize for his collection of short stories, A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage, at the annual Victoria Book Prizes awards gala Wednesday night at the Union Club in Victoria. Photo by Jen Steele Photography

Bill Gaston, Monique Gray Smith capture Victoria Book Prizes for 2018

Butler Book Prize and Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize winners collect $5,000 each

A collection of cautionary tales and a book about reconciliation topped the list Wednesday at the 15th annual Victoria Book Prize gala at the Union Club of B.C.

Bill Gaston won his second Butler Book Prize, this time for A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage (Douglas & McIntyre), a set of 10 short stories that offer an excellent example of the veteran novelist and playwright’s versatility, wit and vivid narrative style.

Gaston, who won in 2007 for Gargoyles, collected a $5,000 cheque from Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps as part of the win.

Monique Gray Smith collected the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize for her book Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, on Wednesday at the 15th annual Victoria Book Prize Awards gala at the Union Club. Photo by Centric Photography

On the children’s literature side, Monique Gray Smith was awarded the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize for Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation (Orca Book Publishers). The book actively explores Canada’s collective history, present and future and presents food for thought for young readers about what reconciliation means and what their role in it might be.

Gray Smith, who also earned $5,000 for the win, offers up stories of the lives of residential school survivors, and gives voice to those people who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of our generous sponsors, an engaged community of readers and all the talented writers and illustrators we celebrate each year,” said Victoria Book Prize president Alyssa Polinsky in a release.

The awards gala was hosted by CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie. Victoria’s Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer opened the evening with a reading from her recent works.

The Victoria Book Prize Society establishes the policy and criteria for the prizes, appoints the juries, and administers the competitions. For more information, visit victoriabookprizes.ca.

editor@mondaymag.com

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