The 2017 Victoria Book Prizes were handed out at a ceremony at the Union Club of British Columbia on Wednesday night.
The $5000 Butler Prize for best book by a Greater Victoria author in the categories of fiction, non-fiction or poetry went to Yasuko Thanh for her novel The Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains.
Set in Vietnam near the beginning of the 20th century, the story focuses on Vietnamese national and Paris-educated physician Georges-Minh.
46-year old Thanh was born in Victoria, dropped out of school at age 15 and lived on the streets.
She would complete a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria.
A Jurors citation described her work as “a haunting book that explores the harsh impact of colonialism, the blind, random damage it drags in its wake, and the puny nature of ill-thought out resistance versus the well-oiled wheels of imperialism.”
The $5000 Bolen Books Children’s book prize went to Margriet Ruurs for her picture book Stepping Stones.
Her work was inspired by the stone artwork of Syrian artist Nizar Ali Badr and tells the story of a woman and her family forced to flee their once-peaceful village to escape civil war.
The stone images illustrate the story.
Ruurs was born in The Netherlands and now makes her home on Salt Spring Island.
Her books for children had already won many awards.
A jurors citation described Stepping Stones as “a timely and beautifully crafted story that connects cultures and two artists worlds apart while allowing readers to better understand the spirit and unimaginable journey of the refugee.”
Founded in 2004, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is a partnership between the City of Victoria and Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies.
The Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize was founded in 2008.