Sooke author Darrel J. McLeod and his first book, Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age, have been recognized by the Victoria Book Prize Society as a finalist for the 2019 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize.
The winner will be announced Oct. 9.
In its 16th year, the $5,000 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is awarded to a Greater Victoria author for the best book published in the preceding year in the categories of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.
The five finalists are:
• Robert Amos (non-fiction) – E.J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island (TouchWood Editions)
• Lorna Crozier (poetry) – God of Shadows (McClelland & Stewart)
• Esi Edugyan (fiction) – Washington Black (Patrick Crean Editions)
• Darrel J. McLeod (biography) – Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age (Douglas & McIntyre)
• Kathy Page (fiction) – Dear Evelyn (Biblioasis)
McLeod’s book is an account of overcoming personal and systemic obstacles while living in the village of Smith, Alta. and came about as a result of McLeod’s interaction with a village elder with whom he shared family stories.
The stories were put to paper while McLeod was serving as a principal in a northern B.C. school. The writing of the accounts took six years.
McLeod is working on a second memoir, Peyakow, following the events in Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age, which will publish in the fall 2020 with Douglas & McIntyre.
Earlier this year, McLeod won the Governor General Literacy Award for non-fiction for Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age.