2020 and 2021 Book Awards poster

Catherine B. Clement and Michelle Good winners of the Vancouver Book Awards; Fiona Tinwei Lam named new Poet Laureate

November 20 2021 –

We're excited to announce Catherine B. Clement’s Chinatown Through a Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yucho Chow and Michelle Good’s Five Little Indians are the winners of the 2020 and 2021 Vancouver Book Awards. Adding to the excitement is the naming of Vancouver’s next Poet Laureate, Fiona Tinwei Lam.

The Book Award winners and new Poet Laureate were announced this afternoon at a hybrid event livestreamed from the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch.

The winning books

2020 winner

Catherine B. Clement for Chinatown Through a Wide Lens: The Hidden Photographs of Yucho Chow (Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC) 

Clement’s book showcases the long-hidden work of Vancouver’s first and most prolific Chinese photographer. For almost 80 years, Yucho Chow’s affordable and friendly studio in Chinatown opened its doors to everyone. He captured the faces of many early marginalized communities denied service by white photographers. Collected over 10 years from private, family collections, these aging images are visual evidence of the diverse communities that once turned to Vancouver’s Chinatown for acceptance and services during a time of enormous racism.

2021 winner

Michelle Good for Five Little Indians (Harper Collins)

Five Little Indians tells the story of how the paths of five friends cross and crisscross over decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the Mission - a remote, church-run residential school. The teens find their way to the foreign world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. Good chronicles, with compassion and insight, the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and ultimately find a way forward. 

Learn more about the Vancouver Book Awards

The Poet Laureate

Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored three poetry collections and a children's book, and collaborated on award-winning poetry videos that have screened at festivals internationally. She also edited the anthology, The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer, and her work appears in over 40 anthologies. She currently teaches at SFU's Continuing Studies. 

As Vancouver's new Poet Laureate, Tinwei Lam hopes to build on the legacy of her predecessors and over the next two years, through community outreach, will encourage a new generation of poems and poetry videos related to the many significant historical, cultural, and ecological sites within Vancouver and on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Learn more about Vancouver’s Poet Laureate