British Columbia

SFU prof wins Governor General's Literary Award for 'Bee Time'

"When I open the hive I've always felt a particular communing with the bees. Here's a creature that I connect to, and I think it's because they're so collaborative."

Mark Winston spent more than 3 decades studying bees

Winston details his 30 years of research into bees in his book 'Bee Time'. (Mark Winston)

Simon Fraser University professor Mark Winston's book Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive has received plenty of buzz since it was first published, but now it has collected the 2015 Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction.

Mark Winston is a professor and senior fellow at SFU’s Centre for Dialogue and founder of the Semester in Dialogue program. (Belle Ancell)

"Every year when the Governor General's finalist list comes out I go through it and pick out books — it's my reading list," he told North by Northwest host Sheryl MacKay

"Now for me to be on that list is more than I could imagine. It's an unbelievable thrill."

In Bee Time Winston explores the many influences that bees have had on human society, and "distills a life's devotion to the study of bees into a powerful and lyrical meditation on humanity," according to the Governor General's awards jury.

Winston began writing Bee Time after he had concluded his three decades of bee research and arrived at Simon Fraser University in 2002 to pioneer the Semester in Dialogue program.

Winston, who later went on to become the founding director of the school's Centre for Dialogue, found that as he carried on his work with the centre, he realized just how much he had learned from the bees.

"When I open the hive I've always felt a particular communing with the bees. Here's a creature that I connect to, and I think it's because they're so collaborative, and they're so communicative, and they're so much more about the social good, rather than the individual good," he said.

"These are aspects that were always in my personality, but really matured the more and more time I spent around bees."

(CBC Books)


To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled: SFU prof Mark Winston wins 2015 Governor General's  Literary Award for Nonfiction for 'Bee Time'

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