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Local authors nominated for BC Book Prize

Two local authors are finding out what it's like to be award-winning writers. Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's children's novel, Fatty Legs: A True Story, has been nominated for a BC Book Prize by the West Coast Book Prize Society.

Two local authors are finding out what it's like to be award-winning writers.

Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton's children's novel, Fatty Legs: A True Story, has been nominated for a BC Book Prize by the West Coast Book Prize Society.

"[I was] pretty excited, kind of shocked actually," said Christy. "I knew of the BC Book Prize, but I didn't even realize it was coming up, so it was a big surprise, a big shock."

The pair has been nominated for the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize, which is awarded to the best non-illustrated book written for children.

A "non-illustrated book" is one that does not rely solely on the illustrations to tell the story, although it may contain pictures to supplement the tale.

Fatty Legs tells the story of Margaret's time at her residential school in the Arctic and the difficulties she encountered with some of the nuns who ran the school, as well as certain students.

"It's really taking off and gaining momentum we just thought it was a really good story and we wanted to get it out there," said Christy.

It took a couple of years to get the book written, as it was difficult for Margaret to go back to that part of her life.

"I was so reluctant to get it written - it would have been out sooner, but I had to think a lot about it. It's so hard to remember that part of the life. You just want to forget it," she said.

Christy and Margaret have brought Fatty Legs to a number of schools in the Peace Region, and just recently have broadened their audience to include schools in the U.S.

The pair recently held a chat session with a school in Denver, Colorado over Skype.

"There's been a lot of interest in the book down in the states," said Christy. "Both of us talk to the students and answered questions over Skype."

Fatty Legs has been nominated for several other awards, both in Canada and internationally, including ForeWord Reviews' Book of the Year, Hackmatack Children's Choice Award, and a SYRCA Willow Award. The book made the shortlist for the Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable Information Book List and the 2011 USBBY Outstanding International Books Honours List and was named one of the ten best children's books of 2010 by The Globe and Mail.

The duo is working on a second book based on Margaret's childhood called A Stranger At Home. In this tale, Margaret shares her experiences after she came home from the residential school, and how she felt like a stranger amongst her family.

"It was strange being home, I didn't eat hardly at all because I wasn't used to the food," she said. "My father said 'if she gets hungry enough, she'll eat,' and I did.'"

The new book is expected to be out later this year.