Poet, essayist, and educator Wayde Compton has won this year’s City of Vancouver Book Award for his debut story collection, 2014’s acclaimed The Outer Harbour, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. The announcement was made this evening at an event celebrating the 2015 Mayor’s Arts Awards, held at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.
An independent jury chose The Outer Harbour from a field of finalists that included the illustrated kids’ book Mr. Got to Go, Where Are You? by Lois Simmie and Cynthia Nugent, local history Live at the Commodore by Aaron Chapman, and Bren Simmers’s poetry collection Hastings-Sunrise.
Compton, who is director of the Writers Studio and the Southbank Writers Program at Simon Fraser University, receives a $3,000 cash prize to go along with the honour of joining the list of winners, which stretches back to the award’s founding in 1989 and includes such names as Amber Dawn, Michael Christie, Chuck Davis, Jean Barman, Madeleine Thien, Wayson Choy, and (inaugural winner) Paul Yee.
Back in 2011, Compton’s previous book, After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region, was also a nominee for the award.
The City of Vancouver Book Award was established to recognize (in the municipality’s own words) “authors of excellence of any genre who contribute to the appreciation and understanding of Vancouver’s history, unique character, or the achievements of its residents”.