Dear Evelyn by Kathy Page wins $5K City of Victoria Butler Book Prize

The prize is awarded annually to the best book of fiction, nonfiction or poetry by an author from the Greater Victoria area.
Kathy Page's latest book is the novel Dear Evelyn. (Biblioasis, Billie Woods)

Kathy Page's novel Dear Evelyn has won the 2019 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize, a $5,000 award given to the best book of fiction, nonfiction or poetry by an author from the Greater Victoria area.

The Victoria Children's Book Prize, another $5,000 award, was given to Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie.

Page's historical novel tells the story of a marriage as it unravels over seven decades. Harry, a poetry lover, and Evelyn, the ambitious daughter of a drunk, get married shortly before Harry is deployed overseas during the Second World War.

The novel continues after the war's end, as parenthood and career pressures widen the fissures in Harry and Evelyn's uneasy marriage.

Dear Evelyn was inspired by the love letters Page's father sent to her mother during the war.

"They were very passionate, emotional letters. I was struck by the huge distance between this beginning and where things had ended up in their 70-year-long marriage," said Page in an interview with CBC Books in October 2018.

Page won the 2018 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for Dear Evelyn.

Kathy Page on how to write great fiction that's based on real life

4 years ago
Duration 3:21
In the latest episode of the CBC Books' video series Why I Write, the award-winning author talks about her writing process and how to write fiction based on personal experience.

Aidan Cassie's Sterling, Best Dog Ever is the author's first picture book.

It tells the story of a dog named Sterling in search of a family. When he comes across a cutlery delivery service, Sterling comes up with a plan.

Past winners of this prize include Bill Gaston for A Mariner's Guide to Self Sabotage and Yasuko Thanh for Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains.