City of Vancouver Book Award

Chelene Knight wins City of Vancouver’s 30th annual Book Award for Dear Current Occupant

A non-fiction memoir of home and belonging in East Vancouver is the winner of the 2018 City of Vancouver Book Award.

“The 2018 Book Award celebrates the creativity and diversity of our local authors – each title shortlisted this year portrays a unique aspect of Vancouver” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

December 8 2018 –

Poet, Memorialist, Editor, and Programming Director Chelene Knight has been presented the prize for Dear Current Occupant (Book*hug) at a public event today on Vancouver Public Library’s new ninth floor. 

Growing up precariously-housed in 20 different homes, the author pens letters to their current occupants, deconstructing her past and redefining what it means to belong and to be home. The 2018 Book Award jury saw Dear Current Occupant as a stand-out work, with Knight’s poetic voice creating a powerful memoir.

Shortlisted titles

Three other titles were shortlisted for the 2018 Award: 

  • Fighting for Space (Arsenal Pulp Press) by Travis Lupick
  • Sitting Shiva on Minto Avenue, by Toots (New Star Books) by Erín Moure
  • Sustenance (Anvil Press) by Rachel Rose, Ed.

The shortlisted titles and winner were chosen by an independent jury. The winner receives a cash prize of $3,000. 

The City of Vancouver Book Award has been awarded annually since 1989 to recognize authors whose works deepen our understanding of Vancouver’s unique character, rich diversity and culture, and its history and residents.

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“The 2018 Book Award celebrates the creativity and diversity of our local authors – each title shortlisted this year portrays a unique aspect of Vancouver” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “Congratulations to the authors of the shortlisted titles - Travis Lupick, Erín Moure and Rachel Rose - and to Chelene Knight for winning this year’s Award with Dear Current Occupant.”
“We have a deep and connected literary community in Vancouver and it is a pleasure to celebrate and recognize work that brings forth rich and diverse voices,” said Sandra Singh, General Manager, Arts, Culture and Community Services at the City of Vancouver. “With the Book Award at its 30th year, we continue to champion creativity and connection through stories that encourage reflection in ourselves, our communities, and our shared city.”

About the author 

About the author Chelene Knight is the Managing Editor at Room Magazine which programs inclusive literary events that amplify racialized and marginalized voices such as the Indigenous Brilliance Reading Series, Growing Room Festival and AfterWord. A graduate of the Writer’s Studio at SFU, Dear Current Occupant is Knight’s second book. Her first book was Braided Skin (Mother Tongue) and a forthcoming novel will be set in Hogan's Alley.