City of Victoria Butler Book Prize

Congratulations to the 2020 Victoria Book Prize Winners!

On October 4, 2020 at the 17th annual Victoria Book Prize Gala, Mayor Lisa Helps and co-sponsor Brian Butler awarded the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize to Lorna Crozier for The House the Spirit Builds (Douglas & McIntyre) and also awarded the City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize to Mark Leiren-Young for Orcas Everywhere; The Mystery and History of Killer Whales (Orca Book Publishers). The winners were announced at a virtual gala evening as part of the Victoria Festival of Authors. Both winners received $5000. 

17th Annual City of Victoria Butler Book Prize

The City of Victoria Butler Book Prize honours members of the literary community by awarding a $5,000 prize to an author for the best book published in the preceding year in the categories of fiction, literary non-fiction or poetry. 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 five finalists were:

  • Lorna Crozier (poetry)
    The House the Spirit Builds (Douglas & McIntyre)

  • Carla Funk (non-fiction)
    Every Little Scrap and Wonder: A Small-Town Childhood (Greystone)

  • Christin Geall (non-fiction)
    Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style (Princeton Architectural Press)

  • Carey Newman & Kirstie Hudson (non-fiction)
    Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of the Witness Blanket (Orca Book Publishers)

  • Steven Price (fiction)
    Lampedusa (McClelland & Stewart)

13th Annual City of Victoria Children's Book Prize

New for 2020, the Children’s Book Prize has been rebranded as the City of Victoria Children’s Book Prize. In fall 2019, Council approved a motion to provide an annual $5,000 grant to the Victoria Book Prize Society for the Children’s Book Prize to recognize and celebrate exceptional children’s and youth literature in our community. This funding is in addition to the $5,000 prize for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize. The prize was established in 2008 by the late Mel Bolen of Bolen Books. 

The three finalists were:

  • Sara Cassidy
    Nevers (Orca Book Publishers)

  • Mark Leiren-Young
    Orcas Everywhere: The Mystery and History of Killer Whales (Orca Book Publishers)

  • Sylvia Olsen & Odelia Smith
    Neekah’s Knitting Needles (Sono Nis Press)

Online Awards Gala

Two independent juries comprised of representatives from the local literary arts community adjudicated the entries. The winners were announced at a free online event, hosted by CBC’s Gregor Craigie on SundayOctober 4 at 7 p.m. as part of the Victoria Festival of Authors. 

How to Apply

Submission Deadline: Closed on Friday, May 22, 2020
Literature in the appropriate genres must have been published between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020.

 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 were 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 Jeff Moore
207 Beach Drive
Victoria, BC V8S 2L9

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 literary arts community are appointed by the Society to review and assess the submissions. Learn more.


The Victoria Book Prize Society would like to thank and acknowledge the following organizations for their support: the City of Victoria, Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies, the Union Club of British Columbia, Friesens Corporation, Munro’s Books, Russell Books, Tanner’s Books, Ivy’s Bookshop, CBC Radio, Island Blue Print Co., and the Greater Victoria Public Library.

Previous Winners

City of Victoria Butler Book Prize winners include:
Kathy Page, Dear Evelyn, 2019
Bill Gaston, A Mariner's Guide to Self Sabotage
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: 
Aidan Cassie, Sterling, Best Dog Ever, 2019
Monique Gray-Smith, Speaking Our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation
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