R.I.P. Alice Munro (1931 – 2024)

“Compared to Anton Chekhov for her peerless short stories for which she won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013, Alice Munro (left) has died.FULL STORY


Ryga Award Winners

May 01st, 2024

The 2024 George Ryga award for social awareness is tied between two exemplary BC authors, Helen Knott for Becoming a Matriarch (Knopf $32.00) and Wayne McCrory for The Wild Horses of the Chilcotin (Harbour $39.95). The award will be presented to both winners in tandem with the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement award at the Vancouver Public Library later in June (to be announced).

Knott’s Becoming a Matriarch navigates grief, love and legacy, following the success of her debut memoir, In My Own Moccasins (University of Regina Press, 2019). After experiencing the loss of her mother and grandmother within a short span of six months, Knott finds herself grappling with the complexities of matriarchy, martyrdom and codependency. She comes to the realization that she must not only bid farewell to the women who raised her but also to the version of herself she once believed in.

Interwoven throughout the narrative are themes of finding sobriety amidst sorrow and the transition of dreams across generations. This book offers poetic reflections, sprinkled with sass, humor and heartfelt moments, guiding readers across the landscapes of Dane Zaa territory in Northeastern BC, the streets of Antigua, Guatemala and into the essence of true matriarchy.

Here’s what the judges had to say about this book: “Becoming a Matriarch was a real unexpected surprise. Knott offers a smooth, well-written narrative from Northern BC aboriginal life that rings honestly. It is a book that has needed writing—about how women are able and capable of stepping up and demonstrating leadership using ancestral, traditional wisdom. A model style for other writers.”

Wayne McCrory

The wild horses of the Chilcotin region evoke romanticism and beauty, yet they remain a source of controversy. Government policies have viewed them as intruders, competing with native species and domestic cattle for range land. Consequently, wild horses have faced culls and lack official protection.

In his book, wildlife biologist Wayne McCrory leverages two decades of research to advocate for the recognition of these magnificent creatures, known as “qiyus” in traditional Tŝilhqot’in culture, as integral to the region’s balanced prey-predator ecosystem. McCrory delves into the genetic history of the Chilcotin wild horses and their significance to the Tŝilhqot’in people, juxtaposing Indigenous conservation efforts with movements aimed at culling them.

Here’s what the judges had to say about McCrory’s book: “The Wild Horses of the Chilcotin is a biologist’s emotional account of a wildlife issue few know about, with deep links to the Indigenous roots of these threatened animals. And we recognize that it is also about something larger than these marvelous critters. A fine and affecting book.”



The George Ryga Award is an annual literary prize for a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness in a new book published in the preceding calendar year. The winners will share the $2,500 prize, sponsored by Yosef Wosk, The Writers Trust of Canada, BC BookWorld and the Vancouver Public Library.

2 Responses to “Ryga Award Winners”

  1. Alice M William says:

    As a life long naturalist and environmentalist, I have a deep connection to Earth and animals. I was amazed at the depth of personal connection that Wayne McCrory showed to the Qiyus, the animal species and the land. We as Tsilhqot’in also have connections to the above mentioned. And, in these situations of deep connections to Earth and it’s inhabitants we acquire Spirit helpers. Based on those, we have dreams, which is a testament to Wayne’s narrative about his horse dream. His whole book was well researched, a compilation of life long knowledge of the Qiyus, other breeds of horses and others too many to mention.

    I would also love to read Helen Knott’s book. It has caught my attention.

    Alice M William

  2. David Williams says:

    Both of these authors have opened up pathways to new ways of thinking about our common heritage here in what is now British Columbia. I have been aware of Helen’s work as a land defender for some time and have been privileged to work closely with Wayne for years. One cannot overestimate their contributions to to our shared understanding of important issues.

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