Shortlist for CODE’s 2017 Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Literature Announced

CODE Burt Award sealA literary award and literacy initiative like no other

Ottawa, September 24, 2017 — CODE is proud to announce the shortlist for its 5th annual Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature. Established by CODE—a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for over 55 years—with the generous support of William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, the award recognizes excellent, engaging and culturally-relevant books in English for youth that are written, illustrated and/or translated by First Nations, Inuit and Métis creators.

This year’s shortlisted titles were selected by a peer assessment committee administered by CODE’s partner, the Canada Council for the Arts. In alphabetical order by title, they are:

  • The Break, by Katherena Vermette, published by House of Anansi Press
  • The Mask That Sang by Susan Currie, published by Second Story Press
  • Those Who Run in the Sky by Aviaq Johnston, (Illustrated by Toma Feizo Gas), published by Inhabit Media

“CODE is delighted to once again recognize works of excellence by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis creators,” said CODE Executive Director, Scott Walter. “Katherena Vemette’s beautifully and powerfully written book captures the love and struggles between family members in a modern indigenous community, Susan Currie weaves themes of class, race, culture, family, and friendship into an outstanding story, and Aviaq Johnston takes us on a young Inuit hero’s journey to spiritual and physical strength as he makes his way through the Arctic wilderness. These are rich, compelling stories that CODE is proud to see honoured, but even more satisfying is the knowledge that through our guaranteed purchase they will be made all the more accessible to indigenous youth, right across the nation.”

The winner and the honour books will be announced on Thursday, November 23, 2017, at an awards ceremony to be held in Edmonton, Alberta. The ceremony will take place at the Amiskwaciy Academy and emceed by Aaron Paquette and CBC’s Shelagh Rogers.

This year, the creator of the winning book (author, translator, or graphic novel illustrator) will be awarded $12,000. Each of the other titles will be named an honour book, and the creator of each honour book will be awarded $2,000.

In addition, publishers of the winning and honour book titles will each be granted a guaranteed purchase of a minimum of 2,500 copies, which will ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth across Canada will have access to the books through their schools, libraries, Friendship Centres and other organizations engaging indigenous youth in education. Last year’s winning titles were distributed to more than 800 locations across the country.

The award is the result of a close 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, the Canada Council for the Arts, GoodMinds and Frontier College.

CODE’s Burt Award is a global readership initiative and is also currently running in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and the Caribbean.

For further details on the Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Literature, please visit


For more information, please contact:
Allen LeBlanc
Director, Fund Development & Marketing
(t) 613.232.3569 ext 232


Sunday, September 24, 2017
News Type: 
Burt Award News
In the News
Press Release

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