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The Last Island wins Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction
Alison Watt’s book a testament to the environment, friendship and the endurance of the spirit
Oct 22/03| For Immediate Release
WATERLOO – The Last Island: A Naturalist Sojourn on Triangle Island has won the 2003 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. Author Alison Watt will receive the award in Laurier’s senate and board chambers at 7:30 p.m. on November 13.
The Last Island is Watt’s attempt to recall and share the summer she spent with Anne Vallée, a serious young biologist whose dedication to her field made her a formidable and inspiring mentor. The book, written in diary form, recounts the author’s initial time on the island and her secondary visit 16 years later, following Vallée’s death. The author returned to continue her research of Vallée’s work and was flooded by memories of their time together.
“The judges felt The Last Island was a beautiful and emotional blending of native legends, evolutionary theory, scientific knowledge and an appreciation for the delicate balance of life,” says Staebler award administrator Kathryn Wardropper. “The beautiful language combined with the watercolour paintings transports the reader to the island.”
Watt is an accomplished writer, naturalist and artist. She holds a degree in biology from Simon Fraser University and studied botany at the University of British Columbia. She has worked as a seabird researcher and as a naturalist in parks across B.C. and has written for Canadian Wildlife Magazine. She also works and teaches painting from her home studio.
Three other titles were shortlisted for this year’s award. They are Mean Streets: Confessions of a Night-Time Taxi Driver by Peter McSherry, Racing the White Silence: On The Trail of the Yukon Quest by Adam Killick and Seldom: A Memoir by Dawn Rae Downton.
The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is supported by an endowment established by author and award winning journalist Edna Staebler, and administered by Wilfrid Laurier University. It was created 13 years ago to recognize and encourage a Canadian writer publishing a first or second book with a Canadian subject or location.