Victoria Writers Esi Edugyan’s and Steven Price’s Home Library — and its 5,000 Books

The couple — both award-winning writers — have transformed the ground level of their ocean-view home into an inviting library.

By Athena McKenzie  |  Photos by Jeffrey Bosdet

Overnight guests at Esi Edugyan’s and Steven Price’s ocean-view home in Colwood get to “sleep among the books” — on a pullout in their cozy library, which houses more than 5,000 titles. 

“You’ll often find guests have become interested in the library and have created a stack beside their bed,” says Edugyan, with a soft laugh.  

While the space is an occasional guest room, it is primarily used to house the family’s ever-growing book collection. It has been intentionally designed to be a homey and welcoming space, with its wood-burning stove — and all those books. 

“It may seem crazy, but every time we go down and stand in front of a bookshelf, there’s these possible futures branching off and books that you could read. There’s a deep, deep pleasure to be able to inhabit that curiosity — all that potential, all that unexplored delight.” — Steven Price

“The room feels different depending on what time of day you’re in there and also what season it is,” Edugyan says. “Depending on the quality of light filtering in through the windows in the fall, it can feel a little bit elegiac.”

Price calls the room the centrepiece of the house. 

“I don’t mean a showpiece, but it’s one of the gathering places,” he explains. “The kids get some TV on Sunday nights, so they get to go down there, and we’re down there at various points throughout the day. Even though it’s a working library for us, for two writers, it also feels like a family space.” 

The simple IKEA shelves are transformed by their contents. Regular additions from Munro’s Books means the collection is expanding and Price keeps it all organized, with separate alphabetized sections for fiction, poetry and literary criticism. 

“We believe in having books around and available to our kids — even though they’re far too young to be reading them,” Price says. “I think it’s creating something that’s inviting for them to grow — grow into different kinds of books.”

This story is part of the A Room of One’s Own feature in the March/April 2020 issue of YAM