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Pile of Books (chrisdorney/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Pile of Books (chrisdorney/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Amber Dawn wins Vancouver Book Award Add to ...

Amber Dawn’s book How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir has won the 2013 City of Vancouver Book Award. The book recounts – in poetry and prose essays – her years making a living as a sex worker in Vancouver.

“This book in its entirely feels like a relief to me. I’m glad the story is out. A decade I’ve been carrying these stories around. Now it’s just out there,” Ms. Dawn told The Globe and Mail during an interview earlier this fall.

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The book recounts Ms. Dawn’s life – from her upbringing in small town Ontario, to working the streets and brothels of Vancouver, to discovering poetry, going back to school, and becoming a published author. (She has now returned to those post-secondary institutions as a teacher of poetry.) Other books on the shortlist include: former Vancouver poet laureate Brad Cran’s poetry collection Ink on Paper; Jancis M. Andrews’s poetry collection The Ballad of Mrs. Smith; Exploring Vancouver – The Architectural Guide by Harold Kalman and Robin Ward, a book of photographs and text; and Sean Kheraj’s Inventing Stanley Park, an environmental history of the iconic park, which combines text with illustrations.

When Ms. Dawn was nominated for the $2000 prize, she was positively giddy about it.

“It’s so ballsy to say: I really want it,” Ms. Dawn, whose first book Sub Rosa won a Lambda Literary Award in 2011, told The Globe, laughing, shortly after being nominated. “I usually don’t say I want to win something, but I really want this.”

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