The Beggar's Garden wins Vancouver Book Award

The Beggar's Garden, a short story collection set in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, has earned the 2011 City of Vancouver Book Award.

The Beggar's Garden

10 years ago
Whether skate-boarding or writing, Giller-nominated author Michael Christie travels the gritty back streets of urban life. He says he is "obsessed with the unwanted." 5:07

A short story collection set in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has earned the 2011 City of Vancouver Book Award.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson awarded the $2,000 prize to The Beggar's Garden author Michael Christie at a city council meeting on Tuesday.

Now based in his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ont., Christie is a former professional skateboarder who previously lived in Vancouver and worked in homeless shelters and as a mental health outreach worker in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood.

The Beggar's Garden was also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and is a nominee for the the Writers' Trust fiction prize.

The City of Vancouver Book Award jury found the short story collection to be "an exciting debut that presented a sensitive and playful portrayal of those working and inhabiting this part of Vancouver. Beautifully written, the book humanized the neighbourhood," according to a statement.

Other nominees included:

  • Lynne Bowen for Whoever Gives us Bread.
  • Wayde Compton for After Canaan: Essays on Race, Writing, and Region.
  • Lesley McKnight for Vancouver Kids.

Established in 1989, the Vancouver Book Award celebrates writers who "demonstrate excellence and enhance our understanding of Vancouver's rich history and culture."