skip to Main Content

Literary Awards

CODE celebrates and encourage the production of exceptional works of culturally-relevant literature for young adults, and delivers winning titles into the hands of young readers.

The CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature


The CODE Burt Award, to me, is a superb example of witnessing and supporting and celebrating the reclaiming happening now in Indigenous communities through literature. I am so grateful for all of the great work CODE is doing for the authors, publishers and communities — who are writing and publishing in Indigenous languages –  it is affirming.”   – Richard Van Camp, author

CODE is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature, a Canadian literary award and readership initiative that recognizes excellence in Indigenous-authored literature for young adults (ages 12-18). This year, for the first time, an award is being granted in an Indigenous Language category.

The award is the result of a collaboration between CODE and the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council,
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Association of Canadian Publishers,
GoodMinds and Frontier College.

Since 2012 we have honoured, celebrated and supported 20 Indigenous authors, who have personally engaged 1,200 Indigenous youth. Winning book titles have made it into the eager hands of Indigenous youth and teachers through the distribution of 50,500 books to over 800 schools, libraries and Friendship Centers in every province and territory in Canada.

The awards program was established with the generous support of the late William “Bill” Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation (now Consecon Foundation). With the passing of the Award’s main benefactor, we regret that 2020 will mark the end of the CODE Burt Award … for now. We remain hopeful that financial support will once again be found to enable the continuation of this important initiative. The Burt Award program is not accepting submissions in 2021.


2020 Winning Titles

Winner Indigenous Language category: Inconvenient Skin by Shane Koyczan, written in English and Cree with translation by Soloman Ratt. Illustrations by Joseph M. Sanchez, Jim Logan, Kent Monkman, and Nadya Kwandibens. Published by Theytus Books. The author and illustrator share the prize of $6,000.

Winner English Language category: Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp Published by Douglas & McIntyre.  The winning author receives $6,000.

Honor book English Language category: The Case of Windy Lake by Michael Hutchinson. Published by Second Story Press. The author of the honour book receives $3,000.

This was an exciting mix of stories “from the past” that are still relevant for today’s reader along with more contemporary stories. We were wowed by the extraordinary writing, engaging content, and powerful life lessons.”  – Burt Award jury members.

Publishers of all three awarded titles received a guaranteed purchase of up to 2,500 copies. These books will be distributed for free to schools, libraries, community centres, and friendships centres across Canada in April 2021. This guaranteed purchase, combined with a book distribution program, is what makes this award program unique. It ensures that great books make it into the hands of young readers who need them the most.


2020 Winner Indigenous Language Category


2020 Winner English Language Category  

2020 Honour Book English Language Category

Our Partners

For more information contact:

Lynn O’Rourke
Program Manager, Literary Awards & Publishing
613-232-3569 or 1-800-661-2633 x 244

Burt Award Briefing

The CODE Burt Award historically also issued awards in Africa and the Caribbean.

See Past CODE Burt Award Winning Titles here.

I cannot put into words the opportunities you have handed me in respect to using these novels in my instruction duties. Wela’lin/thank you for the priceless gift of Aboriginal Literature.” – Brenda Jeddore, Se’t A’newey School, Newfoundland and Labrador


Thanks to the generosity of a private foundation, your donations are not directed to fundraising costs. As a result, we’re able to allocate 94% of donations toward our programs to promote children’s literacy.

Back To Top