Charlotte Gill's memoir Eating Dirt is based on her 17 years as a tree-planter. (Greystone Books)

Charlotte Gill's vivid memoir of her 17 years as a tree-planter, which weaves her experiences into an examination of logging and its environment impact, has won the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.

Gill was crowned winner of the $40,000 prize at a ceremony in Vancouver Monday for her book Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe.

The Vancouver writer's description of the forest "brings it vividly to life in all its mystic grandeur with striking details and evocative analogies, using intelligence, verve and humour to illuminate the dangers that live within, and threaten from without," the jury said in a statement.

Eating Dirt had also been a contender for the 2011 Hilary Weston Writers Trust Non-fiction Prize. It is also in the running for the 2012 Charles Taylor Prize for literary non-fiction.

Gill bested three other finalists for the B.C. literary prize, which is one of Canada's highest profile non-fiction honours:

  • Human Happiness by Brian Fawcett.
  • The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A Canadian Story of Resilience and Recovery by Andrew Westoll.
  • Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism by Joel Yanofsky.