Deborah Campbell's A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War – which recently won the Writers' Union of Canada's Freedom to Read Award and before that the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction – is nominated for another award: the BC Book Prizes' Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize.
The memoir, which focuses on the disappearance of Campbell's fixer in Syria, faces stiff competition in the category, speaking to the rich non-fiction work coming out of British Columbia. Also nominated are Mohamed Fahmy's The Marriott Cell: An Epic Journey from Cairo's Scorpion Prison to Freedom (written with Carol Shaben); Carmen Aguirre's Mexican Hooker #1: And My Other Roles Since the Revolution; Joy Kogawa's Gently to Nagasaki; and Mark Leiren-Young's The Killer Whale Who Changed the World.
In the fiction category, Anosh Irani's The Parcel – which was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers' Trust Award and the Governor General's Literary Award – is nominated, along with Joan Haggerty's The Dancehall Years, Ashley Little's Niagara Motel, Jennifer Manuel's The Heaviness of Things That Float and The Conjoined by Jen Sookfong Lee.
The Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize recognizes the author or authors of the book that contributes most to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia. One of the nominees this year is The Peace in Peril: The Real Cost of the Site C Dam by Christopher Pollon with photos by Ben Nelms, a freelance photographer who frequently contributes to the Globe and Mail.
Other nominees are Anthony Kenyon for The Recorded History of the Liard Basin 1790-1910: Where British Columbia joins the Yukon and N.W.T.; Michael Layland for A Perfect Eden: Encounters by Early Explorers of Vancouver Island; David Pitt-Brooke for Crossing Home Ground: A Grassland Odyssey through Southern Interior British Columbia; and Neil J. Sterritt for Mapping My Way Home: A Gitxsan History.
Layland's book is also nominated for the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award, along with Aaron Chapman's The Last Gang in Town: The Epic Story of the Vancouver Police vs. the Clark Park Gang; Wade Davis: Photographs; Peace Dancer by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd; and Embers: One Ojibway's Meditations by Richard Wagamese.
For poetry, the shortlisted works are: Adele Barclay's If I Were a Cage I'd Reach Out for You; Anne Fleming's poemw; Juliane Okot Bitek's 100 Days; Rob Taylor's The News; and Richard Therrien's Sleeping in Tall Grass.
In the children's books categories, non-illustrated nominated works are: Kathleen Cherry's Everyday Hero; Iain Lawrence's The Skeleton Tree; R.K. McLay's The Rahtrum Chronicles: The Dream; Kit Pearson's A Day of Signs and Wonders; and Robin Stevenson's Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community.
For illustrated children's books, the shortlisted works are: My Heart Fills with Happiness, written by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Julie Flett; Today, written and illustrated by Julie Morstad; Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey, written by Margriet Ruurs and illustrated by Nizar Ali Badr; Deep Roots: How Trees Sustain Our Planet, by Nikki Tate; and Peace Dancer.
The shortlisted authors were announced on Tuesday by the West Coast Book Prize Society. The winners will be announced April 29 in Vancouver.