Ryga longlist announced
February 01st, 2019
The George Ryga Award is annually presented to a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness in a new book published in the preceding calendar year.
In keeping with playwright and novelist George Ryga’s status as a marginalized Ukrainian Canadian who was deeply concerned with social justice, three judges are asked to select an outstanding work of literary and social value that opens up discussion of social and cultural issues.
Last year’s winner of the 2018 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness was Travis Lupick’s Fighting for Space: How a Group of Drug Users Transformed One City’s Struggle with Addiction (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2017).
This year’s judges have compiled a longlist of ten titles for the $2,000 award that will be presented at the Vancouver Public Library in June in conjunction with the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for an outstanding literary career in B.C.
This award is jointly sponsored by Pacific BookWorld News Society, Yosef Wosk and Vancouver Public Library. The competition is judged by VPL Joe Fortes Branch library head Jane Curry; author and professor Trevor Carolan; and freelance journalist and art critic Beverly Cramp.
In alphabetical order of authors’ surnames, here is the Top Ten longlist for the 2019 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness, including an independently published title, A Whisper Across Time.
Seventeen years ago, after listening to a radio programme about second generation Holocaust survivors, Olga Campbell experienced repressed feelings of grief and sorrow. All members of her mother’s family had been murdered in the Shoa but no details ever emerged. Campbell started to confront these feelings by creating a solo multimedia exhibition in 2005 called Whispers Across Time; then she wrote her family’s story as best she could. Combining prose, art and poetry, Campbell’s self-published A Whisper Across Time (Jubaji Press $32) depicts one family’s experience of the Holocaust as an inadvertent legacy of trauma. Described as a healing ritual, a Shamanic Soul retrieval and a celebration of life, A Whisper Across Time resulted in an art show and book launch at the Gertrude and Sidney Zack Gallery in conjunction with the Jewish Book Festival at the Jewish Community Centre in Vancouver. It has since been longlisted for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness. 978-0-9812911-2-3
A Whisper Across Time by Olga Campbell (Jubaji Press)
I’ve Been Meaning To Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter by David Chariandy (McClelland & Stewart)
Against the Current: The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron by Cathy Converse (Touchwood)
Breaching the Peace: The Site C Dam and a Valley’s Stand Against Big Hydro by Sarah Cox (UBC / On Point Press)
Dear Current Occupant by Chelene Knight (Book Thug)
Homeless Memorial by John La Greca (Ekstasis)
Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age by Darrel J. McLeod (D&M)
On the Line: A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement by Rod Mickleburgh (Harbour)
Buffy Sainte-Marie: The Authorized Biography by Andrea Warner (Greystone)
If You’re Not Free at Work, Where Are you Free?: Literature and Social Change, Selected Essays and Interviews 1994 – 2014 by Tom Wayman (Guernica Editions)