One of this country's most notorious bank robbers appears to have kept his sense of humour and wit behind bars, winning an award for a book he has published.

Stephen Reid was a member of the so-called Stopwatch Gang during the 1970s and 1980s and is currently serving an 18-year sentence in prison on southern Vancouver Island for a 1999 bank robbery and shootout with police in Victoria.

But Reid has now been named winner of the 2013 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for his work, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden:Writing from Prison.

Susan Musgrave, an acclaimed Canadian writer and his wife of 27 years, says her spouse only found out about the award at noon yesterday and called the win his best jury decision ever.