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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
August 23, 2016
Canadian Excellence


2003: Alison Watt

The information below is adapted from the news release issued in 2003

The Last Island: A Naturalist Sojourn on Triangle Island is the winner of the 2003 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

The Last Island is Alison Watt’s attempt to recall and share the summer she spent with Anne Vallée, a serious young biologist whose dedication to her field made her a formidable and inspiring mentor. The book, written in diary form, recounts the author’s initial time on the island and her secondary visit 16 years later, following Vallée’s death. The author returned to continue her research of Vallée’s work and was flooded by memories of their time together.

“The judges felt The Last Island was a beautiful and emotional blending of native legends, evolutionary theory, scientific knowledge and an appreciation for the delicate balance of life,” says Staebler award administrator Kathryn Wardropper. “The beautiful language combined with the watercolour paintings transports the reader to the island.”

Watt is an accomplished writer, naturalist and artist. She holds a degree in biology from Simon Fraser University and studied botany at the University of British Columbia. She has worked as a seabird researcher and as a naturalist in parks across B.C. and has written for Canadian Wildlife magazine. She also works and teaches painting from her home studio.

Other Publications by Alison Watt:

  • Circadia (2005) 

For more information visit Alison Watt's website

The shortlist for the 2003 Edna Staebler Award also included:

  • Mean Streets: Confessions of a Night-Time Taxi Driver by Peter McSherry,
  • Racing the White Silence: On The Trail of the Yukon Quest by Adam Killick,
  • Seldom: A Memoir by Dawn Rae Downton.