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Two local authors win at Victoria Book Prizes gala

Briony Penn and Leslie Gentile were each awarded $5,000
Elvis, Me and the Lemonade Stand Summer (left) and Following the Good River won top spots. (Courtesy of Victoria Book Prizes)

Two local authors brought home $5,000 and plenty of acclaim Sunday (Oct. 3) after winning prizes at the 18th annual Victoria Book Prizes gala.

Briony Penn won the Butler Book Prize for her biography, Following the Good River: The Life and Times of the Wa’xaid (Rocky Mountain Books).

The nonfiction account, which judges called “a monumental collaboration between a legendary Indigenous activist and the journalist who has followed him for decades,” recounts the life and accomplishments of Cecil Paul (Wa’xaid). Paul was a Xenaksiala language speaker and residential school survivor from the Kitlope valley who passed away in December 2020.

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Also receiving praise, the Children’s Book Prize went to Leslie Gentile for her work, Elvis, Me and the Lemonade Stand Summer (Dancing Cat Books), about an 11-year-old girl named Truly who lives in a trailer park and spends the summer selling lemonade.

The Butler Book Prize was founded in 2004 as a partnership between the City of Victoria and Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies, and the Children’s Book Prize was established in 2004.

You can learn more about the winners at

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About the Author: Greater Victoria News Staff

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