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Stephen Hume Wins the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Book Prize

Posted: April 27, 2009

Harbour Publishing is pleased to announce that Simon Fraser: In Search of Modern British Columbia by Stephen Hume has won the 2009 BC Book Prizes’ Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. The award, given in honour of celebrated author and conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown, recognizes books that contribute greatly to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia.

In Simon Fraser, Stephen Hume followed in Fraser's footsteps and canoe wake for four years. Most of us learn in school about how Simon Fraser descended the great river that now bears his name, seeking a navigable route to the western sea for the North West Company—but who was this blunt, tenacious man, and what drove him to make a dangerous journey halfway across an uncharted continent?

Hume studied fading maps and diaries in archives across North America, interviewed the descendants of people who aided Fraser and retraced Fraser's route across British Columbia's vast and varied landscape. He found Fraser's own blazes and signs in the wild terrain that the Nor'wester crossed with the help of aboriginal peoples, all the way from the Rocky Mountains to the mouth of the ferocious river we call the Fraser. This is the story of diligent research and reconstruction of Fraser’s route, the rigours of early nineteenth-century travel and the peoples and places he saw and recorded.

Stephen Hume was raised in fishing, farming and logging communities across Alberta and BC and studied at the University of Victoria. A journalist for over 35 years, Hume was editor-in-chief at the Edmonton Journal before moving to BC to become a columnist and feature writer for the Vancouver Sun. He has won more than a dozen awards for his poetry, essays and journalism, including the Writers Guild of Alberta Literary Award, the Southam President’s Award and the Marjorie Nichols Memorial Award. Hume became the first Canadian to win the Dolly Connelly prize for environmental writing. His other books include Raincoast Chronicles 20: Lilies and Fireweed, Bush Telegraph and Off the Map, which was also shortlisted for a BC Book Prize. He currently teaches professional writing at Vancouver Island University.

The BC Book Prizes were founded in 1985 to celebrate BC's writers and publishers. The Prizes come with $2,000 and are administered and awarded by members of a non-profit society who represent all areas of the publishing and writing community. Winners were announced at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prize Gala on April 25th in Vancouver at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel.