Author, poet, and Room magazine managing editor Chelene Knight has won the $3,000 City of Vancouver Book Award for her memoir Dear Current Occupant (Book*hug). Knight recalls a childhood of precarious housing by writing letters to the present-day residents of the 20 different places she lived with her mother and brother during the ’80s and ’90s.
Also shortlisted for the prize was Travis Lupick’s Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction (Arsenal Pulp Press), Erín Moure’s Sitting Shiva on Minto Avenue, by Toots (New Star Books), and Sustenance: Writers from BC and Beyond on the Subject of Food (Anvil Press), an anthology edited by former Vancouver poet laureate Rachel Rose.
“Thank you all who supported me today,” Knight wrote on Twitter, posting a photo alongside poet Jónína Kirton and Room publisher Meghan Bell. “I am thrilled to have shared space with some amazing folks and to finally breathe, take a moment, be that author, and take in the honour of the 2018 Vancouver book award.”
Thank you all who supported me today. I am thrilled to have shared space with some amazing folks and to finally breathe, take a moment, be that author and take in the honour of the 2018 Vancouver book award. Thank you. @bookhugpress @VanCultureBC @JoninaKirton @meghanlbell pic.twitter.com/Vq3g06SfU1
— Chelene Knight (@PoetChelene) December 9, 2018
The winner was chosen by a jury consisting of writers Nav Nagra, Dory Nason, and Billeh Nickerson. Knight is currently at work on her first novel, Junie, set in Hogan’s Alley, a neighbourhood that was home to Vancouver’s Black community in the mid-20th century. Junie will be published by Book*hug in 2020.