The Prince George Public Library Board has announced the winner of the 2024 Jeanne Clarke Local History Service Award, a 92-year-old Prince George resident, as well as the finalists in the Publication Award category.
The awards were established by the Library Board in 1985, in memory of former Library Board Chair, Jeanne Clarke. This year’s awards ceremony takes place on February 25, 2024 at the Bob Harkins Branch of the library where Clarence Boudreau will be honoured with the Service Award and the winner of the Publication Award will be announced.
Clarence Boudreau, a local author and musician, is being honoured as the winner of this year’s Service Award. Boudreau, who turns 93 years old in February, is an author and musician (aka Penny Slim) who has written multiple books on the history of northern B.C.
Clarence was nominated for a Jeanne Clarke Publication Award in 2023 for his book I Hear the Mountains Calling, a memoir of his life in the community of Penny, BC, where he was born and spent the first 80 years of his life. He and his wife Olga won the 1996 Jeanne Clarke Publication Award for their book Into the Mists of Time: a History of Guilford, Lindup and Fortin’s Sawmill.
Boudreau is a born storyteller who shares the history of northern B.C. not only as an author, but also through his original songs, including a song about the Northern Hardware Canoe Race and the 2018 wildfires. Boudreau’s Facebook page features many of his music videos, and a recent one titled “Yesterday’s Memories” has already received over 250,000 views on Facebook.
Established in 1985, the Service Award recognizes outstanding contributions by an individual or group in the area of local history. In 1993, the PGPL Board added a Publication Award so authors could be recognized for producing an important new work of local history. Non-fiction, biographies, historical fiction or any publication that improves the appreciation and understanding of local history are eligible for the Publication Award. Works must be published within the past two years.
The finalists for this year’s publication award are:
- Artist’s sketches : a history of the forest industry in Prince George and area by Larry Merritt
- Berries, baseball & baskets : collection of memories by Shirley May Gratton
- Kechika chronicler : William Freer’s Northern BC and Yukon diaries, 1942-1978 edited by Jay Sherwood
- Prince George history : an artist’s view by Larry Merritt
- Talking to the story keepers : tales from the Chilcotin Plateau by Sage Birchwater
- The notorious Georges : crime and community in British Columbia’s northern interior, 1905–25 by Jonathan Swainger
- The secret pocket by Peggy Janicki and illustrated by Carrielynn Victor
- This place is who we are : stories of Indigenous leadership, resilience, and connection to their homelands by Katherine Palmer Gordon
The objective of the Jeanne Clarke Local History Award is to increase interest in local history, to publicize the library’s role in preserving and promoting local history, and to recognize individuals and groups for their efforts in local history. Although the primary goal is to recognize the history of Prince George and the surrounding area, local history is broadly defined to include all of Northern B.C. so historical work with a regional focus is eligible for recognition.
The award ceremony will be taking place on Sunday, February 25 at the Bob Harkins Branch, downtown, from 1-3pm. Light refreshments will be served and seating is limited. Please RSVP to Kathleen by February 16th: 250-563-9251 ext. 119 or email email@example.com.
Past winners of the service award include Edie Frederick and Jennifer Annaïs Pighin, Kym Gouchie, the Native Friendship Centre for the Skeh Baiyoh Childcare Centre, The Exploration Place and Mary Gouchie, the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, and Trelle Morrow.
Jeanne Clarke was a founding member of the Prince George Public Library’s Local History Committee, and played a key role in establishing the Prince George Public Library’s local history collection.
For more information on the Jeanne Clarke Awards visit: