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Winner of the 4th Great BC Novel Contest!

We are pleased to announce the WINNER of our 4th Great BC Novel Contest is Bill Stenson of Victoria BC. Chosen from three short-listed manuscripts, final judge Audrey Thomas says;

“A dog is lost; a child is found.  This is the terrific opening to this year's winning novel in the 4th Mother Tongue prize plus publishing contest:
Ordinary Strangers, by Bill Stenson.  We are quickly led into a complex world full of quirky characters, centred around the "found" child, Stacy, who wonders why there are no baby pictures of her in the family album. At times very funny, at times horrific and at times so sad, this novel will make you think hard about what it means to be a family and how far one can travel on the rocky road to forgiveness without completely falling apart.”

“A beautifully written and imagined novel about children and parents and love, both blossoming and in peril…the writing is breath-taking, and the plot is surprising and jarring, while the landscapes of the BC Interior are so vivid and natural.”–John Lent, author and short-list judge

This astonishing novel begins at a fair on a hot August day in 1971 in Hope, BC. Sage and Della Howard are driving to Fernie to start a job and begin a new life. They stop for a break, lose their dog and in the search find a crying toddler in the nearby woods instead, and just as unexpectedly, are back on the road continuing their journey with her. As the story unfolds and years pass, the Howards keep their dark secret and raise Stacey as their own. A compelling and original story, with fascinating characters, well-paced, that takes you to the other side of happenstance and fear.  

Due: October 2018 BUY NOW


Bill Stenson
 is a writer who currently lives in the Cowichan Valley.  He has published a short story collection, Translating Women, and two novels, Svoboda and Hanne and Her Brother, all published by Thistledown Press. He has taught creative writing at the high school level, the Victoria School of Writing, and the University of Victoria.  He co-founded The Claremont Review with Terence Young, an international literary magazine for young adult writers that is still going today, a magazine he edited for many years. 

The winner will receive: a publishing contract with Mother Tongue Publishing of Salt Spring Island, a $1,000 advance, publication of their novel in a beautiful trade paper edition and e-book, distribution and publicity.

Short list judge John Lent read the thirty-four manuscript submissions from BC writers. The 3 finalists included Katrin Horowitz and Jeremy Lanaway.

Final Judge:

Audrey Thomas has published eighteen novels and short story collections, and more than twenty of her radio plays have been broadcast on CBC. Twice nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, Thomas received the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for Intertidal Life, Wild Blue Yonder and Coming Down from Wa, and has been internationally recognized with the Canada-Scotland Writer's Literary fellowship and the Canada-Australia Literary Prize. In 1987, she won the Marian Engel Award for her body of work, in 2001 the W.O. Mitchell Award, in 2003 the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2008 she was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Her most recent novel, Local Customs, was shortlisted for the 2014 Victoria Butler Book Prize. She lives on Galiano Island, BC.
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The winner of the 3rd Great BC Novel Contest was disqualified. (Atomic Road by Grant Buday), after much deliberation, including consultation with the final judge, because of a dispute over appropriate authorship attribution. Information provided by the writer, whose name had been announced as the winner, raised a significant issue for Mother Tongue Publishing Limited and its publisher, as well as for the integrity of the Contest.  Because of the outlays of time, energy and money incurred, no substitution was made. 

2nd contest Winner, 2013
Kathryn Para for her debut novel Lucky.

Judges were; Caroline Adderson (final judge) and Gurjinder Basran and David Chariandy.

2014 Shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize!

Lucky is a beautiful, harsh novel, tension-filled, its language startling and fresh.  It's also funny, thanks to the unflinching perceptions of its daring and damaged protagonist, Ani, war photojournalist and surly survivor.  Lucky me.  I got to read this book first.”– Caroline Adderson

Kathy Para’s debut novel raises the ante on the word ‘blistering.’ Once you start down her harrowing road, you won’t be able to get off.”–Keith Maillard

"Astonishing in scope and depth. Astonishing as a first novel. Para’s depictions of the war scenes in Lucky are stunning, her understanding of the political forces at play, astute; these sections ring with a profound authenticity. Yet it’s the heartbreaking, personal account of Ani that is so enlightening. We’re reading of a woman who is angry about being a “woman in a man’s mythology.”–MAC Farrant

1st contest WINNER, 2010
Gurjinder Basran for her debut novel Everything Was Good-bye.

Judges were; Jack Hodgins (final judge) and Kathy Page and Karen X Tulchinsky.


• 2012 3 weeks Reader’s Choice for the ScotiaGiller Prize
• 2012 Top 5 Canada Reads Choice in BC/Yukon
• 2011 Winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
• 2010 Winner Great BC Novel Contest
• 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semi-finalist

“A fascinating story, skillfully written, of a rebellious young woman's remarkable courage.” —Jack Hodgins

"This is a brave book, and also a pleasure to read: emotionally  engaging, sensuous, vibrant, and beautifully observed."– Kathy Page

 “Basran’s writing is by turns both elegant and poetic… the writing does what good writing should do: it makes an ordinary story unique.”– Quill & Quire

"Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Meena’s wry, dark, irreverent narrative about her coming-of-age in Vancouver’s Indo-Canadian community demands to be read aloud."–Booklist

"Basran’s raw, sad debut tells the story of Meena’s struggle between her desires and her Indian family’s traditions."–Publisher's Weekly

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