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City of Vancouver Book Award

Robert Watt and Susan Point win 2019 Book Award for People Among the People

October 21 2019 –

The City of Vancouver announced Robert Watt’s People Among The People, a book about the artworks of internationally-renowned xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) artist Susan Point, as the 2019 Book Award winner.

The winning title, published by Figure 1 with the Museum  of Anthropology at UBC, is a beautifully photographed book telling comprehensive stories about Point’s public artworks, which are informed by surviving traditional Salish works that Point has studied, and the Oral Traditions of her Musqueam family and elders. Through extensive interviews and access to Point’s archives, Watt tells the story of each piece, whether it’s the evolution from sketch to carving to casting, or the significance of the images and symbolism. The two were co-presented the prize on Saturday afternoon, at a public event in the Vancouver Public Library. 

Point’s famous artworks

The 2019 Book Award jury saw People Among the People as a means for Vancouverites to better appreciate Point’s freely-accessible art, which stands as a welcome to the unceded homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh People. Vancouverites are encouraged to visit Point’s famous artworks in the city, such as:

  • The monumental Flight (Spindle Whorl) and the Musqueam Welcome Figures at the Musqueam Welcome Area at YVR Airport
  • People Amongst the People, the carved red cedar portals at x̌ʷay̓x̌ʷəy̓ (Stanley Park)
  • The cast-iron art underfoot throughout the city covering Vancouver’s storm and sewer access

Shortlisted titles

The four other titles shortlisted for the 2019 Award were: 

  • The Forbidden Purple City by Philip Huynh (Goose Lane Editions)
  • Murder by Milkshake by Eve Lazarus (Arsenal Pulp Press)
  • No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen (Tundra Books)
  • Port of Being by Shazia Hafiz Ramji (Invisible Publishing)

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, history and residents’ lives and experiences.

Email media@vancouver.ca for 2019 Book Award event photos.