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Former North Delta author a finalist for B.C. Book Prize

Graeme Truelove
Graeme Truelove's book, Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics, delves into the experiences of the former outspoken NDP MP.
— image credit: File Photo / The Leader

North Delta native Graeme Truelove has been shortlisted for a B.C. Book Prize for his in-depth biography of former federal New Democrat Svend Robinson.

Finalists for the 30th-annual literature awards were announced in mid-March, honouring fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children’s writing.

Truelove is one of five authors vying for the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, an honour recognizing an original book which “contributes the most to the enjoyment and understanding of the province of British Columbia.”

His book, Svend Robinson: A Life in Politics, is an authorized biography of the outspoken politician, who for 25 years, made headlines for his sometimes controversial views and for his sexual orientation. (Though perhaps more commonplace now, it was considered a bit of a bombshell when he came out in 1988, becoming the first openly gay MP).

“It was a leap into the unknown,” Robinson told Truelove. “It was just the most liberating moment you can imagine.”

Truelove, now an Ottawa resident who works as a non-partisan procedural clerk in the House of Commons, took a year of unpaid leave to complete more than 100 interviews for his book about Robinson. The tale is about much more than politics, exploring the former politician’s difficult childhood, his realization of his sexuality and his eventual bipolar diagnosis.

Truelove said it took some convincing to have Robinson agree to the intrusive process of a biography.

“I’m not surprised that it took him a little while to come around to the idea, but eventually he did, and he trusted me to do it.”

B.C. Book Prize winners will be announced May 3 in Vancouver.

- with files from Boaz Joseph

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