BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction

Since 2005, British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction has recognized and rewarded thoughtful and provocative Canadian non-fiction works. It is the only national prize that originates in BC, and has a top prize of $40,000. The winner will be announced on February 4th. Here are the finalists:

BeyondPaleBeyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes, by Emily Urquhart

When her newborn daughter is diagnosed with albinism, the author embarks on a quest to understand the condition. Urquhart is a journalist and folklore scholar, accustomed to interpreting the world through other people’s stories, so this is her approach. Part parenting memoir, part travelogue, and part cultural critique, this is a unique look at how we explain human differences through our cultural beliefs

The Right to be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting her Culture, the Arctic, and the Whole RightToBeColdPlanet, by Sheila Watt-Cloutier

In this memoir, Inuk Sheila Watt-Cloutier describes the tumult of climate change in human rights terms, not just economics. The jarring changes in the Arctic, where warming rates are double compared to the rest of the globe, threaten the Inuit way of life and serve as an early warning system for the rest of the world. Her personal story is entwined with her passionate desire to preserve the future for her culture and her grandchildren.

StalinsDaughterStalin’s Daughter: The Extraordinary and Tumultuous Life of Svetlana Alliluyeva, by Rosemary Sullivan

In 1967, Stalin’s daughter shocked the world by defecting to the United States. But coming to America did not free her from the legacy of her father’s name. Accessing KGB, CIA, and Soviet archives, Sullivan pieces together the epic life of a woman who never escaped the shadow of her monstrous father. It’s an intimate portrait, which also illuminates the broader context of her time.

StephenHarperStephen Harper, by John Ibbitson

The first part of this biography examines the very private life of our former Prime Minister. Ibbitson portrays him with all his moody flaws, giving a compelling portrait of a famously secretive individual. The second part deals with Harper’s achievements, such as uniting the Reform and Conservative parties, trade agreements and his government’s economic guidance. Neither hagiography nor mud-slinging tirade, the book is a balanced picture of an important and enigmatic figure.

Who do you want to win?

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