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Caitlin Press Author Receives BC Book Prize Nomination


March 10, 2010

Lorne Dufour, author of Jacob’s Prayer (Caitlin Press), has been shortlisted for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, which recognizes books that most contribute to the enjoyment and understanding of British Columbia; the award comes with a certificate and a $2,000 cash prize.

Lorne Dufour was born in Blind River, Ontario in 1940. He attended the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Ottawa, and Michigan State University at East Lansing. Before moving to Alkali Lake, Dufour travelled with Little People’s Caravan, a gypsy-style theatre company. For over thirty years since his time on the Alkali Lake reserve, Dufour has been handlogging with the help of Clydesdale horses near Salmon Arm, BC. He has published two books of poetry, Spit on Wishes and Starting From Promise, which won the Poet’s Corner Award from Broken Jaw Press in 2001. Dufour lives off the grid in McLeese Lake, BC, with his wife Diana.

The BC Book Prizes, established in 1985, celebrate the achievements of British Columbia writers and publishers. The seven Prizes, plus The Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, are presented annually at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prize Gala in April. The Prizes are administered and awarded by members of a non-profit society who represent all facets of the publishing and writing community.

Jacob’s Prayer: Loss and Resilience at Alkali Lake tells the story of a Cariboo Chilcotin First Nations community in the 1970s, as they recover from tragedy and struggle to rebuild their aboriginal culture.

In 1975 Lorne Dufour moved to the Secwepemc village of Esket, a Shuswap community near Williams Lake, to teach grade 4 and 5 at the newly reopened elementary school. The author tells the story of a tragic Halloween evening when two men lose their lives in a bizarre accident, while Dufour narrowly survives thanks to the efforts of a Shuswap man, Jacob Roper. He weaves his experiences living in a cabin on the edge of the reserve, and the life-lessons he learned from the children he taught, around descriptions of that tragic night and his contemplations on how this event determined the man that he would become.

The other nominees for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize are Ian Gill for All That We Say Is Ours: Guujaaw and the Reawakening of the Haida Nation (Douglas & McIntyre), Andrew Scott for The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names: A Complete Reference to Coastal British Columbia (Harbour Publishing), Larry Campbell, Lori Culbert and Neil Boyd for A Thousand Dreams: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and the Fight for Its Future (Greystone Books) and Brian Brett for Trauma Farm: A Rebel History of Rural Life (Greystone Books).

The winners of the BC Book Prize will be announced at the Lieutenant Governor’s BC Book Prizes Gala on April 24th in Victoria at Government House.