The 2014 winners of a unique literary award that provides thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada with access to culturally-relevant, engaging books every year were announced on September 27th.
Shelagh Rogers and Wab Kinew co-hosted the Winnipeg 2014 gala for CODE’s Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, recognizing outstanding literary works for young adults written by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors.
Monique Gray Smith received the first prize of $12,000 for Tilly, a Story of Hope and Resilience (published by Sono Nis Press), Thomas King won the second prize of $8,000 for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (published by Doubleday Canada), while the third prize of $5,000 went to Bev Sellars for They Called Me Number One (published by Talonbooks.) The winners were selected by a jury composed of Canadian writers and educators administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.
The Award’s book purchase and distribution program will ensure that a minimum of 2,500 copies of each of the three winning titles will be delivered to First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada through community libraries, schools, Friendship Centres and summer literacy camps.
“CODE believes that it’s essential for young people everywhere to have access to engaging books that reflect their own culture and reality,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. “The main goal of this Award is to provide Canadian First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth with such books so they will want to read them, and then others, with the hope that they develop a lifelong love of reading and learning.”
In its second year, the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature was established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning in Canada and around the world for 55 years – in collaboration with the Literary Prizes Foundation. In 2013, 7,500 copies of the first three winning titles were distributed to nearly 900 locations in all provinces and territories.
The Award is the result of a close collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Association of Friendship Centres, Frontier College, GoodMinds, the Association of Canadian Publishers and the Canada Council for the Arts.
CODE’s Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature is an annual award. The deadline for submissions of manuscripts or recently-published books for the next edition is February 15th, 2015.
The Burt Literary Awards is a global readership initiative and is also currently established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and the Caribbean.