Retired Department of Writing professor Jack Hodgins won the 8th annual City of Victoria Butler Book Prize with his most recent masterful novel, The Master of Happy Endings (Thomas Allen). After readings by each nominee, Mayor Dean Fortin and prize sponsor Brian H. Butler presented Hodgins with a cheque for $5,000 at a gala event at Victoria’s Union Club, hosted by local CBC Radio personality Jo-Ann Roberts, on October 12.
Also among the nominees were UVic Writing instructors Carla Funk and Stephen Hume.
This year’s prize jurors included writer Theresa Kishkan, bookseller Cathy Sorensen and librarian Avi Silberstein; in their citation, the jurors’ noted, “The Master of Happy Endings is an exuberant novel about the power of narrative to serve as a compass for human odysseys. Hodgins’ story is as much about the terrain of the heart and spirit as it is about the physical world and he moves confidently from one to the other, his literary skill in service to his rich imagination.”
Jack Hodgins was raised on Vancouver Island and only recently retired from teaching fiction at UVic. He has written seven other novels and three story collections, and is the winner of the Governor General’s Award, the Canada-Australia Prize, the Commonwealth Prize and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. He was also appointed to the Order of Canada in 2009.
Past Department of Writing winners include current MFA candidate Frances Backhouse for Children of the Klondike (2010), Patrick Lane for Red Dog, Red Dog (2009) and Bill Gaston for Gargoyles (2007). Numerous Writing faculty members can also be found among the nominees each year.