Barry Gough has won the 2022 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing for his book, Possessing Meares Island: A Historian’s Journey into the Heart of Clayoquot Sound. The prestigious award recognizes the authors whose books have made the most significant contributions to the historical literature of British Columbia. This comes on the heels of the announcement that the book is a finalist for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize at the BC and Yukon Book Prizes.
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 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing: The annual Historical Writing Competition recognizes the authors whose books have made the most significant contributions to the historical literature of British Columbia.
The top prize for this competition is the prestigious Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing, plus a $2,500 cash prize. Awards may also be presented to the runner up ($1,500), second runner up ($500) and/or honorable mentions (certificates).
Since 2014, the BC Historical Federation has also presented the Community History Award to a book that provides sought-after historical information about a specific community or locality within British Columbia. This award recognizes the importance of preserving local histories as well as broader provincial histories. All books submitted to the Competition are considered for this award.