City of Victoria Butler Book Prize

2018 Victoria Book Prize Winners!

Congratulations to Bill Gaston and Monique Gray Smith, winners of the 2018 Victoria Book Prize Awards!

Bill Gaston was named the winner of the 15th annual City of Victoria Butler Prize for A Mariner's Guide to Self-Sabotage, published by Douglas & McIntyre.

Monique Gray Smith was named the winner of the 11th annual Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize for Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation, published by Orca Book Publishers.

Mayor Lisa Helps and event sponsor Brian Butler presented Gaston with the $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and Samantha Holmes from Bolen Books presented Gray Smith with the $5,000 Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize.

Bill Gaston - 2018 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize Winner

A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage is a set of 10 cautionary tales showcasing Gaston’s range and narrative versatility, moving seamlessly from the funny to the poignant to the surprising and absurd. Gaston has a gift for making ordinary moments feel transcendent. Gaston’s earlier book Gargoyles (House of Anansi) won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2007.

Gaston is a novelist, short-story writer and playwright. His short-story collection Gargoyles was short-listed for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and won the ReLit Award. In 2002, Gaston was a finalist for the Giller Prize with Mount Appetite, and the inaugural recipient of the Timothy Findley Prize, awarded by the Writer’s Trust of Canada.

Monique Gray Smith - 2018 Bolen Books Children's Book Prize Winner

Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation actively explores Canada’s collective history, present and future. It may be the first time some readers have thought about what reconciliation means and, more specifically, what it means to them and their role in it. Readers will learn about the lives of residential school survivors and listen to allies who are putting the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission into action.

Monique Gray Smith is a mixed-heritage woman of Cree, Lakota and Scottish ancestry and a proud mom of twins. She is an accomplished consultant, writer and international speaker. Her first novel, Tilly: A Story of Hope and Resilience won the 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature. Gray Smith and her family are blessed to live on Lekwungen territory.

City of Victoria Butler Book Prize Finalists

Celebrating its 15th year, the $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is awarded to a Greater Victoria author for the best book published in the preceding year in the categories of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. The five shortlisted authors were:

Lorna Crozier (poetry) – What the Soul Doesn’t Want (Freehand Books)
Patrick Friesen (poetry) – Songen (Mother Tongue Publishing)
Rhonda Ganz (poetry) – Frequent, Small Loads of Laundry (Mother Tongue Publishing)
Bill Gaston (fiction) – A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage (Douglas & McIntyre)
Maria Tippett (non-fiction) – Sculpture in Canada (Douglas & McIntyre)

Bolen Books Children's Book Prize Finalists

Marking its 11th year, the $5,000 Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize is awarded to an author or illustrator for the best children’s book published in the preceding year. The three shortlisted authors were:

Monique Gray Smith – Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation (Orca Book Publishers)
Julie Lawson – A Blinding Light (Nimbus Publishers)
Dr. Jillian Roberts – On Our Street: Our First Talk About Poverty (Orca Book Publishers)

Thank you to all those who submitted entries to the 2018 Victoria Book Prizes!

Awards Gala

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Awards Gala on October 17, 2018 at the Union Club of British Columbia! Hosted by CBC Radio's Gregor Craigie, the event was an entertaining evening of readings from shortlisted authors, dessert and the awarding of the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and the Bolen Books Children's Book Prize. Books were available for purchase and signing by the authors. Victoria's Poet Laureate Yvonne Blomer read poetry from her recent works.

Tickets were $20 and were available at Bolen Books, Munro’s Books, Ivy’s Bookshop, Tanner’s Books, online, and the Victoria Book Prize Society at 250.589.8430 or at

Victoria Book Prize Society

The Victoria Book Prize Society is a non-profit organization that establishes the policy and criteria for the two prizes, appoints the juries, and administers the competitions. Two independent juries comprised of representatives from the local literary arts community are appointed by the Society to review and assess the submissions. For more information, click here.

How to Apply

Submission Deadline: Closed on Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Literature in the appropriate genres was to have been published between April 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018.

 Submissions were to include the following:

  • A submission form - completed and signed.
  • FIVE copies of the book. (One copy will be part of a display at Victoria City Hall.)
  • Entry fee. $25 per entry, payable by cheque to: Victoria Book Prize Society

NOTE: Finalists are required to provide SEVEN additional copies for promotional purposes.

Submission(s) and payment were to be delivered to:
The Victoria Book Prize Society
c/o Target Storage Ltd.
#38 - 747 Princess Avenue
Victoria, BC V8T 1K5


Founded in 2004, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is a partnership between the City of Victoria and Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies. The Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize was founded in 2008. Additional sponsors include the Greater Victoria Public Library, Island Blue Print, Magnolia Hotel and Spa, Friesens Corporation and CBC Radio. Thank you for your support!

Previous Winners

City of Victoria Butler Book Prize winners include:
Yasuko Thanh, Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains, 2017
Pauline Holdstock, The Hunter and the Wild Girl, 2016
Julie Paul, The Pull of the Moon, 2015
M.A.C.(Marion) Farrant, The World Afloat, 2014
Stephen Reid, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden, 2013
Madeline Sonik, Afflictions & Departures in 2012
Jack Hodgins, The Master of Happy Endings in 2011
Frances Backhouse, Children of the Klondike in 2010
Patrick Lane, Red Dog, Red Dog in 2009
Arleen Paré, Paper Trail in 2008
Bill Gaston, Gargoyles in 2007
Mark Zuehlke, Holding Juno in 2006
Terrence Young, After Goodlake's in 2005
Kevin Patterson, Country of Cold in 2004
Bolen Books Children's Book Prize winners include: 
Margriet Ruurs, Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family’s Journey, 2017
Dawn Green, In the Swish, 2016
Chris Tougas, Dojo Daycare, 2015
Daniel Loxton with Jim W.W. Smith, Pterosaur Trouble, 2014
Polly Horvath, One Year in Coal Harbour in 2013
Caitlyn Vernon, Nowhere Else on Earth: Standing Tall for the Great Bear Rainforest in 2012
Kristi Bridgeman, Illustrator, Uirapurú (pronounced oor-a-pur-ú) in 2011
Sylvia Olsen, Counting on Hope in 2010
Penny Draper, Graveyard of the Sea in 2009
Chris Tougas, Mechanimals in 2008

Contact Us

Alyssa Polinsky
Victoria Book Prize Society