CODE is proud to announce the winners of its 3rd Annual Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature and celebrate incredible indigenous authorship benefitting First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth. The Burt Award was created and is managed by CODE, a Canadian non-profit organization promoting literacy and education for over 55 years, in collaboration and with the generous support of William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation. This year’s winners, as selected by a jury of Canadian writers administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are:
2015 Winning Titles
1. Skraelings by Rachel & Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (published by Inhabit Media)
2. Grey Eyes by Frank Christopher Busch (published by Roseway Publishing)
3. Lightfinder by Aaron Paquette (published by Kegedonce Press)
Hundreds of young people, educators, and community leaders came to honour the winning authors at the 2015 awards ceremony hosted in partnership with the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Education and Indigenous Education Institute of Canada in the UBC Longhouse on October 22nd. The day’s events were emceed by veteran broadcast journalist Shelagh Rogers, host of CBC’s The Next Chapter, and last year’s first prize winner, author of Tilly, Monique Gray Smith. Events included words from Musqueam Elder Larry Grant and performances by Musqueam hip-hop artist Christie Lee Charles.
Addressing the crowd, Jacques Bérubé, Vice-Chair of CODE’s board of directors, remarked on CODE’s approach: “We have long recognized that a very important characteristic of engaging young readers is to provide them with stories that reflect their own culture, their own stories. Stories that have meaning for them. This is what inspired us to introduce the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature.”
Selected by a jury of Canadian writers administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, Mr. and Ms. Qitsualik-Tinsley receive the First Prize of $12,000. Mr. Busch received the Second Prize of $8,000, and Mr. Paquette won Third Prize of $5,000. In addition, publishers of these titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of a minimum of 2,500 copies, which will ensure that First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth across Canada will have access to the books through their schools, libraries, and Friendship Centres. Last year’s winning titles were distributed to almost 900 locations, reaching every province and territory.
“I have no doubt these winning books will appeal to a wide range of readers right across the country, but in particular we’re promoting the books to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. “Through engaging writing that reflects lived realities and contemporary issues of indigenous youth, we hope to provide the spark to allow more and more youth the chance to discover a love of reading.”
The Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature aims to provide engaging and culturally-relevant books for young people across Canada by recognizing excellence in English-language literary works for Young Adults by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors. 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, 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 established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Caribbean.
Go to [www.codecan.org/burt-award-canada] for further details about the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Literature.