Paula Wild signs copies of her book The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous at a recent promotional appearance at the Nanaimo Museum.

Paula Wild signs copies of her book The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous at a recent promotional appearance at the Nanaimo Museum.

Record columnist wins international award for her book on cougars

Courtenay writer Paula Wild’s most recent book won a gold in the 2013 IndieFab Book of the Year Awards.

The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous received top honours in the Adult Nonfiction Nature category of Forward Reviews’ annual awards, after months of deliberation by a panel of librarians and booksellers from across the U.S. The awards were announced June 27 at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas. Wild found out via e-mail.

“I was totally surprised,” she said Friday. “It was in the subject line and, before I even read the e-mail, I let out a little shriek and started laughing and almost crying at the same time.

“I’m exceedingly honoured. The amount of books that they had to look at to narrow it down, even to a shortlist — I was amazed I made the shortlist — so to have actually gotten the gold was astounding.”

Wild, who has freelanced for the arts section of the Comox Valley Record for more than 25 years, released The Cougar in September, and it was very well received by the public. It made the BC Bestseller List, received strong reviews and was shortlisted for the BC Book Prizes’ Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award.

The book uses history, research and first-person accounts to explore humans’ relationship with cougars. It also includes cougar awareness information and defence tactics, and a large selection of photos of the wild cats.

Since the book’s release in September, Wild has been busy touring and giving presentations, something she says has lasted much longer than average.

“A normal book tour for B.C. would last through the fall and pretty well end at Christmas, but I’ve been busy giving talks at different places, even up until last month, and in June I did a little tour in Washington state,” says Wild, who is blown away by the public interest. “There’s a lot of interest in cougars, and about their natural history and their ecology, and how people should behave around them.”

Wild has written other books, such as One River, Two Cultures; The Comox Valley; and Sointula: Island Utopia, which won B.C. Historical Federation Certificate of Merit.

Although her schedule is just now slowing down since the release of The Cougar: Beautiful, Wild and Dangerous, Wild is already starting research for her next book — this one about wolves.

For more information about Paula Wild, visit

Foreword Reviews’ IndieFab Book of the Year Awards celebrate new indie books from authors and publishers whose work stands out from the crowd. For more information on the awards, visit


Comox Valley Record