Crushed Wild Mint, Beautiful Beautiful and Dream House book covers on dark green background; BC & Yukon Book Prizes logo on bottom right

Crushed Wild Mint, Dreamhouse and Beautiful Beautiful shortlisted for the 2024 BC and Yukon Book Prizes

The West Coast Book Society has announced the shortlist for the 2024 BC and Yukon Book Prizes, and Nightwood Editions would like to congratulate the following finalists:

  • Cathy Stonehouse, whose poetry collection Dreamhouse is a finalist for the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, awarded to the author(s) of the best work of poetry.
  • Brandon Reid, whose novel Beautiful Beautiful is a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, awarded to the author of the best original work of literary fiction.
  • Jess Housty, whose poetry collection Crushed Wild Mint is a finalist for two prizes:
    The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize, awarded to the author(s) of the best work of poetry
    The Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award, presented to the originating publisher(s) and the author(s) of the book that is the most successful in terms of public appeal, initiative, design, production and content.

The BC and Yukon Book Prizes, which are in their 40th year, celebrate the writers, books, publishers, and illustrators embodying the rich literary talent of these two regions. The winners of each of the eight categories will be announced at a gala in Vancouver on September 28, 2024.

A long poem in six sections, Dream House investigates female embodiment, calling up feral, liminal spaces such as the pregnant body, the aging mind, snail shells, broom closets, low-ceilinged pubs and abandoned pizza boxes. Part Tardis, part townhouse, part Howl’s Moving Castle, this wry, surreal and many-peopled narrative interrogates what metaphor might hold of history, both personal and social, after a mother’s passing. Its migrant speaker trawls through hedgerows and recipe books to unearth stained birdsong and undead civil wars, tracing a matrilineal path across four generations while traversing the haunted margins between existence and belonging.

Cathy Stonehouse is a poet, writer, teacher, and visual artist. She is the author of a novel, a short story collection, and three collections of poetry including Dreamhouse. She co-edited the anthology Double Lives: Writing and Motherhood, and was a previous editor of EVENT magazine. She teaches creative writing and interdisciplinary expressive arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, BC.

Imbued with passion, creativity and insight, Beautiful Beautiful is a captivating coming-of-age story exploring indigeneity, masculinity and cultural tradition. Twelve-year-old Derik Mormin travels with his father and a family friend to Bella Bella for his grandfather’s funeral. Along the challenging journey, the young boy delves into the haunting past of his forebears, contemplates his relationship to masculinity, and delves into the dichotomy between rural and urban existences. In hopes of reconciling the seemingly unreconcilable divide between Indigenous and "Western" cultures, he embraces the inherent beauty within each—hence beautiful beautiful.

Brandon Reid holds a B.Ed. from UBC specializing in Indigenous education and a journalism diploma from Langara College. His work has been published in the Barely South Review, the Richmond Review and The Province. He is a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, with Indigenous and English ancestry. He resides in Richmond, BC, where he works as a TTOC.

Crushed Wild Mint is a collection of poems embodying land love and ancestral wisdom, deeply rooted in the poet’s motherland and their experience as a parent, herbalist and careful observer of the patterns and power of their territory. Jess Housty grapples with the natural and the supernatural, transformation and the hard work of living that our bodies are doing—held by mountains, oceans, ancestors and by the grief and love that come with communing. Through their exploration of history, rituals, emotions, and resilience, Housty invites us to reflect on our place in the world, urging us to redefine our bonds with our communities near and far. 

Jess Housty is a parent, writer and grassroots activist with Heiltsuk (Indigenous) and mixed settler ancestry. They serve their community as an herbalist and land-based educator alongside broader work in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors. They reside and thrive in their unceded ancestral territory in the community of Bella Bella, BC.

The winners of the BC and Yukon Book Prizes will be announced at an Awards Gala on Saturday, September 28th, 2024 at the University Golf Club in Vancouver. Tickets will go on sale later this spring.

There will be a soirée to celebrate the finalist authors and publishers on Thursday, May 16th at 6:30PM at Book Warehouse in Vancouver (632 W Broadway). This event is free and open to the public.