Author Hodgins, illustrator Bridgeman capture book prizes

The Master of Happy Endings, Uirapuru lauded by jurors

Jack Hodgins

Jack Hodgins

A Victoria-area man’s tale of a widower’s quest to quell his malaise has earned the author this year’s Butler Book Prize.

Jack Hodgins’ novel The Master of Happy Endings was acclaimed by the prize’s jurors as “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.”

Also honoured during a gala ceremony Wednesday night at the Union Club of British Columbia was illustrator Kristi Bridgeman of Saanich, who won the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize, for her artistic interpretation of the late P.K. Page’s book, Uirapuru.

“Kristi Bridgeman’s extraordinary accomplishment in Uirapuru is to tell a story with illustrations so richly layered and complex, so warm with colour, humour and detail so as to draw the reader back into its haunting magic and back again, each rereading a discovery,” jurors wrote. “P.K. Page’s telling of a Brazilian legend is timelessly captured.”

Both Bridgeman and Hodgins won $5,000 for their efforts.

The City of Victoria Butler Book Prize was established by the city and Brian Butler, of Butler Brothers Supplies, in 2004. The Bolen prize was first awarded in 2008.

The other four finalists for the Butler prize included Carla Funk, Stephen Hume, Sylvia Olsen and John Schreiber. Sarah N. Harvey and Arthur John Stewart were the two other finalists for the Bolen prize.

ecardone@vicnews.com