05/06/2013 01:03 EDT | Updated 07/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Lorna Crozier, Sarah Ellis honoured at B.C. book prize gala

Poet Lorna Crozier and children's writer Sarah Ellis have won the $5,000 B.C. Lieutenant Governor's Award for Literary Excellence, one of eight prizes awarded to B.C. writers at a gala Saturday at Government House in Victoria.

Crozier is the author of the memoir Small Beneath the Sky and poetry collection The Book of Marvels: A Compendium of Everyday Things.

Ellis is well-known children's writer and winner of the Canadian Children’s Book Prize for Odd Man Out, as well as The Young Writer’s Companion and The Baby Project. The Lieutenant Governor's Award is given annually for career achievement.

The jury said both writers were strong candidates for the award and they couldn't choose between the two.

"Both are prolific, both are recipients of numerous awards, both are passionate advocates for their literary genre and for Canadian writing, both are internationally recognized, both tirelessly mentor their literary children, and both bring the strength of oral tradition to their writing," the jury said in its citation.

Writer Bill Gaston, an instructor at the University of Victoria, has won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for his newest novel, The World.

Gaston weaves together the stories of three people whose lives are in crisis in The World. He follows an early retiree who accidently burns down his house, his friend who is preparing for suicide to escape the pain of cancer and her father, suffering from Alzheimer’s, all of them linked by a book called The World.

Gaston was a finalist for the Giller Prize for his earlier novel Mount Appetite and won the Timothy Findley Prize for a novelist in mid-career in 2002.

Other prizes presented:

- Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize for contributing to the understanding of British Columbia: Derek Hayes, British Columbia: A New Historical Atlas (Douglas & McIntyre).

- Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize: Geoff Meggs and Rod Mickleburgh, The Art of the Impossible: Dave Barrett and the NDP in Power, 1972-1975 (Harbour Publishing).

- Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize: Sarah de Leeuw, Geographies of a Lover (NeWest Press).

- Christie Harris Children’s Literature Prize for the best illustrated book: Maggie’s Chopsticks by Alan Woo, illustrated by Isabelle Malenfant (Kids Can Press).

- Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for best non-illustrated book: Caroline Adderson, Middle of Nowhere (Groundwood Books)

- Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award: Shelley Fralic, with research by Kate Bird, Making Headlines: 100 Years of The Vancouver Sun (The Vancouver Sun)