Friday, February 05, 2016

Prize Watch: BC National Nonfiction Prize to Rosemary Sullivan

Rosemary Sullivan, the Toronto biographer, was last night awarded the BC National Prize for nonfiction for her book Stalin's Daughter,, according to a very small note in the Star and a longer one in the Globe. Can't help thinking the Giller gets a little more coverage.  The Globe notes
There was some discomfort at the event when, during his opening remarks, B.C. Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender referred repeatedly to the books of non-fiction as “novels.” When he returned to the stage at the end of the ceremony to announce the winner, Mr. Fassbender – previously B.C.’s education minister – repeated the error. “I think we’ve heard some amazing stories behind each one of the novels,” he said.
The fix for that kind of ignorance -- and the way to restore the arm's-length non-partisan approach that should always apply to literary awards -- would be to get rid of the pols and have the lieutenant governor present the B.C. Prize instead of some political hack too 'busy' to take a briefing on the event he is attending.  Anyone on the left coast ready to start that campaign?

Sullivan had already won the Hilary Weston nonfiction prize for this book and  remains a finalist for the Charles Taylor prize -- not bad! With all the recognition granted her earlier works, she ought to be accepted as the leading Canadian biographer these days.
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