Barry Gough has been shortlisted for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for his book, Possessing Meares Island: A Historian’s Journey into the Heart of Clayoquot Sound (Harbour Publishing, $36.95). The Prize considers Greater Victoria authors for books published in the categories of fiction, non-fiction or poetry and the winner will be announced at an in-person gala on Wednesday, October 12. This comes on the heels of the announcement that the book has won the Canadian Nautical Research Society's Keith Matthews Award. Gough has also won the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing along with the 2021 John Lyman Award for Canadian Naval and Maritime History and was shortlisted for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes’ Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, The BC Book Awards’ George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature and the J. W. Dafoe Foundation’s John W. Dafoe Book Prize.
Possessing Meares Island: A Historian's Journey into the Past of Clayoquot Sound weaves a unique history out of the mists of time by connecting eighteenth-century Indigenous-colonial trade relations to more recent historical upheavals.
Gough bridges the gap between centuries as he describes how the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council draws on a complicated history of ownership to invoke their legal claim to the land and defend the majestic wilderness from the indiscriminate clear-cut saw. Possessing Meares Island will not only appeal to history buffs, but to anyone interested in a momentous triumph for Indigenous rights and environmental protection that echoes across the nation today.
Barry Gough is one of Canada's foremost historians, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of King's College London and Life Member of the Association of Canadian Studies, and has been awarded a Doctor of Letters for distinguished contributions to Imperial and Commonwealth history. He is well recognized for the authenticity of his research and the engaging nature of his narratives, and is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including Fortune's a River: The Collision of Empires in Northwest America (Harbour, 2007), which won the John Lyman Book Award for best Canadian naval and maritime history and was shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize. Gough has been writing for almost four decades. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife, Marilyn.
About the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize: The City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is a partnership between the City of Victoria and Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies. With the generous help of committed volunteers and sponsors, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize inaugural $5,000 prize was awarded in 2004 – created to acknowledge and celebrate an extraordinarily accomplished writing community and the readers who support them.
Now in its 19th year, the prize is awarded to a Greater Victoria author for the best book published in the categories of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. The finalists are selected by an independent jury, comprised of representatives from the local literary arts community, from among books published between April 2021 and March 2022.