The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People is awarded annually to reward excellence in the writing of an outstanding work of historical fiction for young readers, by a Canadian author, published in the previous calendar year. In 2008, the value of the prize was increased from $1,000 to $5,000.
The award winner is decided by a jury selected by the Canadian Children's Book Centre. All books written by Canadian citizens or landed immigrants are eligible for consideration. The first Geoffrey Bilson Award in 1988 was presented to Carol Matas for her book Lisa.
Sponsored by Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund
About Geoffrey Bilson
Born on January 27, 1938, Geoffrey Bilson was an avid reader from an early age, and began to write while quite young. His published historical novels for children include Death Over Montreal and Goodbye Sarah. He also published several books for adults. Before his sudden death in 1987, Geoffrey Bilson taught as a professor of history at the University of Saskatchewan. The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People was created in his honour in 1988.
Sponsored by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s Bilson Endowment Fund
2009 Winner - John Ibbitson, The Landing. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2008
2008 Winner Geoffrey Bilson Elijah of Buxton
7th November- Christopher Paul Curtis has won the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, worth $5,000 for Elijah of Buxton
Elijah of Buxton
Written by Christopher Paul Curtis
“Christopher Paul Curtis tells the unique and powerful coming-of-age story of Elijah, the first child to be born into freedom in Buxton, Ontario, a settlement of freed slaves… Through Elijah’s eyes, readers are made aware of the horrors and violence of slavery which inevitably allows them to truly understand the meaning of freedom.”
2008 Other Shortlisted
The Alchemist's Dream
Written by John Wilson- Authors blog
Key Porter Books
“The Alchemists Dream is the early seventeenth century fictional story of Robert Bylot, a historical explorer who sailed as navigator with Henry Hudson in search of the Northwest Passage… The author's description of life and death in the plague ridden city of London is impressive. This story of the ill-fated voyage is riveting… Kids will love it and I did too.”
Eye of the Crow: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His First Case
Written by Shane Peacock
“A skillfully told story that not only brings the seedy side of 1860s London to life, but also introduces a believable young Sherlock Holmes who sets out to solve a sensational murder case…This is a fast-paced page-turning mystery and young Sherlock will surely become a favourite with readers.”
Rise of the Golden Cobra
Written by Henry T. Aubin
“The Rise of the Golden Cobra is a great adventure that tells the coming of age story of a boy who, through tragedy and suffering, grows from being a simple, persecuted peasant to become a highly respected and moral officer in the pharaoh's army... An awesome blend of fact and fiction filled with action, political intrigue, and military strategy.”
Written by Shannon Cowan
“Tin Angel is the coming of age story of Ronnie and her transition from innocence to womanhood in the turmoil of late 1960s and early 1970s... Carefully researched and well-written… Rich in imagery and filled with raw emotion… Young readers will easily identify with the themes of family dysfunction, teen relationships, loss, depression, poverty, and guilt verses innocence.”
JURY MEMBERS: Albert Fowler, author and storyteller; Merle Harris, author and storyteller; Arlene Lipkewich, teacher-librarian; and Gail de Vos (chair), storyteller and professor, School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta.
Previous Winners 1988 to 2007