Whistler Independent Book Awards 2020 Winners Announced
The winners of the 2020 Whistler Independent Book Awards were announced on Friday, October 16, at the Literary Cabaret, one of the highlights of the annual Whistler Writers Festival, this year held virtually for the first time in its nineteen-year history.
The winner in the fiction category was C.V. Gauthier for Charlee LeBeau and the Gambler’s Promise, a historical YA novel. Finalist judge Gail Anderson-Dargatz said: “This is a rollicking adventure of the wild west, packed with tall tales of treasure and romance, tragedy, and the dark deeds of villains. But this is also a deeper story about a young woman struggling with loss and finding, in her grief, the ability to not only cope, but to forge her own identity and independence, even in the face of cruel societal norms that force her to hide who she really is. C.V. Gauthier is clearly a talented writer.”
The other two fiction finalists were R.E. Donald for Yellowhead Blues and Jennifer Rouse Barbeau for Dying Hour.
The winner for non-fiction was Laesa Faith Kim for Can’t Breathe, a mother’s memoir of her medically complex daughter’s journey toward life. Finalist judge J.J. Lee said: “Laesa Faith Kim’s Can’t Breathe moves from the everyday to the reflective in language and expression, focusing on the medical and family drama at hand. Evelyn’s transformation from premature infant to a child signing how much she hates changing her tracheal equipment is a revelation that provides the hope that the main character cannot see. It’s a frustrating moment for the author, but for the reader it’s one of joy.”
The other two non-fiction finalists were Anna Byrne for Seven Year Summer and Mary O’Sullivan for Lazarus Heart.
Judging the fiction prize were Gail Anderson-Dargatz and Darcie Friesen Hossack. The non-fiction prize judges were J.J. Lee and Susan Oakey Baker.
Established in 2016, the Whistler Independent Book Awards provide Canadian self-published authors with a unique opportunity to have their work recognized through an independent juried process.
Administered by Vivalogue Publishing, the Canadian Authors Association and the Whistler Writing Society, the awards are sponsored by The Writers’ Union of Canada.