Creative Arts / The Wedge / Yukon

First Ever For Yukon

Some winners of the 2019 BC and Yukon Book Prizes

By Charlotte Peridot for theWedge.LIVE

It’s a first for the Yukon Territory and frankly, pretty exciting from a place who’s pristine nature overcomes all narratives–except of course its Klondike Gold Rush.

This journey travels deep into Yukon minds, specifically those of authors and writers. The Commissioner of Yukon announces The Borealis Prize to be presented for the first time at the BC and Yukon Book Prizes event this May in Dawson City–the birthplace of said gold rush.

It is the first-ever literary prize for the Yukon writing and publishing community.

Did you know our own national treasure, Pierre Berton, is from Whitehorse?

He penned a bestselling and award winning book on the Yukon, “Klondike : The Last Great Gold Rush 1896-1899.”

Berton fleshes out colourful personages in his book:  Soapy Smith, dictator of Skagway; Silent Sam Bonnifield, who lost and won back a hotel in a poker game; and Roddy Connors, who danced away a fortune at a dollar a dance and Swiftwater Bill Gates, who bathed in champagne! This is a must-read to learn about the establishment of the wild West in Canada.


On good authority, we hear Commissioner Angelique Bernard is an avid reader and over-the-moon on this launch.

“I am thrilled to be working with the BC and Yukon Book Prizes to present The Borealis Prize: The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution. Our talented writers, publishers, editors and literary community builders deserve to be recognized for their contributions to this territory. I am looking forward to this new and exciting chapter in celebrating and recognizing Yukoners.” Commissioner of Yukon Angélique Bernard

The Borealis Prize: The Commissioner of Yukon Award for Literary Contribution will be administered by the BC and Yukon Book Prizes and awarded annually by the Commissioner of Yukon. This award will be presented at the Dawson Daily News Print and Publishing Festival in Dawson City, Yukon which takes place each year in May or June.

The BC and Yukon Book Prizes originated in 1986 and currently administers 10 prizes for writing and publishing. Prizes include the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence, the Jim Deva Prize for Writing That Provokes and many others in categories that include fiction, children’s literature, poetry and regional writing.

The BC and Yukon Book Prizes are honoured to be working with the Commissioner of Yukon to bring this amazing prize to the writing and publishing community of Yukon. Our commitment to that community is stronger than ever and we look forward to continuing to celebrate and promote the excellent writing and publishing that’s consistently produced by the talented folks in that territory.

Quick facts :
  • The prize includes $500, a certificate and an original art piece.
  • The prize will be adjudicated by a jury of three prominent members of the Yukon writing and publishing community. New juries will be approved each year by the Commissioner of Yukon prior to the opening of the submission timeline.
  • Yukoners who have lived in the territory or BC for the past 12 months or for at least three of the past five years are eligible to apply for BC and Yukon Book Prizes.
  • The Borealis Prize is a new prize for Yukoners only and the scope of the prize encompasses not only authors but volunteers who work within the writing community.

How to apply :

The public is encouraged to submit nominations for individuals whose work has contributed significantly to the writing and publishing communities of Yukon.

Nominations should include a short description of the individual’s contributions to Yukon writing and publishing communities as well as a minimum of three pieces of supporting documentation.

Supporting documentation can include:

  • a bibliography;
  • links to events that the person has contributed to or organized;
  • reviews of their work;
  • a biography; or
  • other things that demonstrate their contributions.

The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2020.

The public can submit nominations through the BC and Yukon Book Prizes website.

Mac’s Fireweed Books, established bookstore and an institution in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

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