Karyn L. Freedman, a philosophy professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, received the prize for her book "One Hour in Paris: A True Story of Rape and Recovery."
The 11th annual award is touted as one of Canada's major national book prizes and is the only one to originate in B.C.
It's presented by the independent B.C. Achievement Foundation, established by the province in 2003.
Foundation chairman Keith Mitchell congratulated Freedman at a ceremony that also celebrated three other short-listed finalists.
Their books featured topics such as the 1995 Quebec referendum, a study of the Arctic Circle and climate change, and a journey to discover religious identity.