After his twenty years as columnist for the Times Colonist, the first book by Jack Knox, Hard Knox: Musings From the Edge of Canada (Heritage), was shortlisted for the $15,000 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. Another B.C. contender in 2017 was John Armstrong for A Series of Dogs (New Star). The previous Leacock winner was Susan Juby of Nanaimo for Republic of Dirt: A Return to Woefield Farm.

Knox was raised in the BC interior, and worked at newspapers in Kamloops, Regina, and Campbell River before joining the Times Colonist in 1988. His second compilation of columns will be called Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award-Losing Humour Writing.

Advertised as a treasure trove of West Coast wit, Hard Knox (Heritage 2016) is a collection of writing by columnist Jack Knox who refers to Vancouver Island as an "Island of Misfit Toys."; He writes that it's a place where millennials and elders pay more for their bikes than their cars; Albertans come in droves for a double dose of craft beer and culture shock; and any single man who still has some teeth is referred to as "a catch." In the book's dedication, Knox thanks someone named Lucille, "who has stuck with me for more than thirty years. I question her judgment."

Marijuana in rats. Canada's fertility rate. Swearing politicians. The best of Jack Knox's humour columns for the Victoria Times-Colonist make for delightfully terse reading in Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award Losing Humour Writing (Heritage $19.95). The subtitle is an oblique reference to the fact that his previous book Hard Knox was shortlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour but didn't win. His bio states: "Women adore him. Men want to be him. His hobbies including playing in a rock-and-roll band, being awesome and self-delusion.";

BOOKS:

Hard Knox: Musings from the Edge of Canada (Heritage 2016) $19.95 9781772031492

Opportunity Knox: Twenty Years of Award Losing Humour Writing (Heritage 2017) $19.95 978-177203-208-6

[BCBW 2017]