Tom Wayman, a Winlaw author, has received the province’s 2022 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, BC BookWorld announced Friday.
Beginning in 1973, Wayman published two dozen collections of poetry, as well as three collections of short stories, one novel, and four collections of essays. He has edited six poetry anthologies. Wayman has lived in the Winlaw suburb of Appledale since 1989.
“I’m especially pleased that the award went to someone from West Kootenay this year,” said Wayman. “There is so much literary activity here. Our breathtaking natural setting in all four seasons, along with a population of opinionated characters, make the region ideal for writers.
Wayman said one of the pleasures of living in the Kootenays is the wide range of the area’s writing community. “I think of our tireless historians like the late Ron Welwood and the amazing researcher Greg Nesteroff,” Wayman said. “On the literary side, there are excellent writers like Ernest Hekkanen and Rita Moir, to name just two of many.”
Two of Wayman’s recent books are set in the Slocan Valley where he lives.
Winter’s Skin, published by Oolichan in 2013, brings together his poems about Valley winter as well as photos of winter scenes by Valley photographers Jeremy Addington and Rod Currie.
The tales in Douglas and McIntyre’s 2015 collection of Wayman short stories, The Shadows We Mistake For Love, are all set in the Slocan.
Wayman’s most recent book is a collection of poetry, Watching a Man Break a Dog’s Back: Poems for a Dark Time, published by Harbor in 2020.
In 2015, he was named a literary landmark of Vancouver, British Columbia, with a plaque on the city’s commercial promenade honoring his efforts to highlight people’s writings about their daily work and its effects on them, both in work only outside.
The Woodcock Prize is named after UBC professor George Woodcock (1912-1995), an early champion of Canadian imaginative writing and, in 1959, founding editor of the scholarly journal Canadian Literature.
Since 1994, the prize has recognized an outstanding literary career in the province.
The award, along with a cash prize of $5,000, is jointly presented by the City of Vancouver, Vancouver Public Library and BC BookWorld, in partnership with the Writers Trust of Canada and Yosef Wosk.
Past winners include Nobel laureate Alice Munro (2005), David Suzuki (2011), Joy Kogawa (2008) and journalists Barry Broadfoot (1997) and Paul St. Pierre (2000).