In Nature’s Realm wins Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing

TouchWood Editions is pleased to announce that In Nature’s Realm by Michael Layland has been awarded the 2019 Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing, a prestigious $2,500 prize presented by the British Columbia Historical Federation. Due to current circumstances, there will be no awards ceremony. The announcement was made April 17, 2020.

In Nature’s Realm is the third volume in Layland’s series on the history of European discovery and settlement of the region. It is a celebration of the richly diverse flora and fauna of Vancouver Island as explored through the records of explorers, settlers, and visitors reaching back as far as 13,000 years. It shows how the understanding of early naturalists was constrained by limited time and equipment, and the political motivations of their sponsors.

“I feel deeply honoured by this prestigious award,” says Layland. “In this book, I have chosen to bridge two aspects: that of exploration and colonization history and that of the development of knowledge about the natural world, both within the context of Vancouver Island. My intention is to complement my two previous books, bringing a new theme to the events they covered. I am so pleased to be honoured by the community of historians of British Columbia.”

Previous titles in Layland’s series are The Land of Heart’s Delight: Early Maps and Charts of Vancouver Island (2013) and A Perfect Eden: Encounters of Early Explorers of Vancouver Island (2016), both of which were recognized as finalists for this prize. Earlier this year In Nature’s Realm was also awarded the 2020 Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia.

The BCHF annual Historical Writing Competition recognizes the authors whose books have made the most significant contributions to the historical literature of British Columbia. Submissions are evaluated on scholarship— quality of research and documentation, comprehensiveness, objectivity, and accuracy—presentation, and accessibility. This year’s competition also recognized another TouchWood title, Boom and Bust: The Resilient Women of Historic Telegraph Cove by Jennifer Butler—which shares the stories and memories of 25 women who lived in the isolated, tight-knit community over 100 years—with an Honorable Mention.

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