Two local authors are celebrating after winning awards at this year’s Victoria Book Prize Gala

Novelist Kathy Page’s Dear Evelyn won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and Author/Illustrator Aidan Cassie’s Sterling, Best Dog Ever has taken home the Victoria Children’s Book Prize.

Dear Evelyin is Page’s 8th novel, and is the story of a 70 year marriage between two incompatible people beginning in the second World War. Page says the book is inspired by her parent’s marriage and that she had been working on the book for about 8 years.

“It feels particularly sweet because it’s local," Page told CTV News.

"It’s very special. I was amazed by the quality of the shortlisted authors. I felt really happy and at home."

Meanwhile, Sterling, Best Dog Ever is Cassie’s first published book. It’s a children’s picture book about a dachshund finding self-acceptance and self-love inspired by Cassie’s childhood pet.

“It’s absolutely incredible," said Cassie. "I’m blown away, and completely shocked. It was a debut book, so I didn’t realize it would be able to have the ripples it has had, so I’m very excited.” 

All nominated authors read excerpts from their books in front of the crowd at the gala, which Cassie was grateful to hear and be a part of.

“I was able to read Sterling outloud to a large crowd of grown-ups, turning the picture book pages,” Cassie said, recounting the gala.

Page says she was grateful for the time she spent chatting and hearing from other authors. She adds she’s delighted by the award because it is a great recognition for its ability to connect with other people. She hopes Dear Evelyn will continue to connect and communicate with more people.

Cassie is also soaking in the win, saying, “I’m just so grateful the Victoria community has such an amazing awards ceremony, and they appreciate Sterling. I’m just beside myself, it’s fantastic!”

Both authors are working on new projects and are feeling thrilled with their acknowledgements.