The memoir written by longtime B.C. journalist Alicia Priest as she faced what she called the ultimate deadline following her ALS diagnosis has been nominated for a BC Book Prize. A Rock Fell on the Moon: Dad and the Great Yukon Silver Ore Heist was published last September, four months before Ms. Priest's death, at 61, in January.
"While I could still talk and walk and eat and type, I got to work," she wrote in a remarkable Facts and Arguments essay published in The Globe and Mail last September. A Pollyanna she was not, she continued, and saw no silver lining to dying prematurely. "Still, without this diagnosis, would I have quit my job to devote the hours to researching and writing my story?" she continued. "Would I have had the help from so many to pull my book together?"
The book – about her childhood in the Yukon and an infamous theft of silver ore in the 1960s committed by her father – has been shortlisted for the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award, one of seven BC Book Prize categories.
The nominations were announced on Wednesday.
Vancouver's Caroline Adderson is up for two prizes: her novel Ellen in Pieces is nominated for best work of fiction, and Norman, Speak!, illustrated by Qin Leng, is up for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize. Another book illustrated by Ms. Leng, Chieri Uegaki's Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, is also nominated in that category.
Richard Beamish and Gordon McFarlane's The Sea Among Us: The Amazing Strait of Georgia, which they co-edited, is also up for two prizes: the Duthie Award and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize recognizing the book that contributes most to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia.
Other nominees for the Booksellers' Choice Award include Lisa Ahier's The Sobo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road; Aaron Chapman's Live at the Commodore: The Story of Vancouver's Historic Commodore Ballroom; and Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd for Cloudwalker.
In the fiction category, Ms. Adderson is up against Aislinn Hunter's The World Before Us, Kathy Page's Paradise and Elsewhere, Brian Payton's The Wind Is Not a River, and Michael Springate's The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God.
Other nominees for the Regional Prize include Margaret Horsfield and Ian Kennedy for Tofino and Clayoquot Sound: A History; Christine Lowther for Born Out of This; Ian McAllister for Great Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest; and Jay Sherwood for Surveying Southern British Columbia: A Photojournal of Frank Swannell, 1901-07.
The other nominees for the Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize include Dolphin SOS by Roy Miki and Slavia Miki, illustrated by Julie Flett; The Most Magnificent Thing, written and illustrated by Ashley Spires; and Stop, Thief! by Heather Tekavec, illustrated by Pierre Pratt.
Here is a list of the shortlisted books in the other categories:
Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize:
- Julie Angus, Olive Odyssey: Searching for the Secrets of the Fruit That Seduced the World
- Kevin Chong, Northern Dancer: The Legendary Horse That Inspired a Nation
- Barry Gough, The Elusive Mr. Pond: The Soldier, Fur Trader and Explorer Who Opened the Northwest
- Eve Joseph, In the Slender Margin: The Intimate Strangeness of Dying
- Nancy J. Turner, Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America
Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize:
- Rob Budde, Dreamland Theatre
- Jen Currin, School
- Kayla Czaga, For Your Safety Please Hold On
- Patrick Lane, Washita
- Cecily Nicholson, From the Poplars
Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize for the best non-illustrated book written for children:
- Becky Citra, Finding Grace
- Maggie de Vries, Rabbit Ears
- Eileen Kernaghan, Sophie, in Shadow
- Gabrielle Prendergast, Capricious
- Elizabeth Stewart, Blue Gold
The prizes will be awarded in Vancouver on April 25.