Mynett wins Ryga Award
April 09th, 2021
Vancouver author Geoff Mynett has won the 2021 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature for Service on the Skeena: Horace Wrinch, Frontier Physician (Ronsdale 2020) about the man who built northern British Columbia’s first hospital in 1904 in Hazelton, which until his arrival had no resident doctors and no surgeons.
“This is amazing and I am indeed grateful,” said Mynett upon hearing of the award. “Hazelton is such an interesting place and Dr. Wrinch such an interesting person that I am really happy to bring greater attention to them. And to be given an award for it as well is indeed an additional pleasure.”
Horace Wrinch was also a reformer who started what was likely one of the first forms of health insurance in the province when in 1907, for a dollar a month, a member could obtain a ticket entitling them to medical and hospital services.
In the 1920s, Wrinch was a two-term president of the newly established British Columbia Hospital Association and a two-term Liberal Member of the Provincial Legislature for the Skeena riding. While in the Legislature, Wrinch championed publicly funded health insurance making him, for all intents and purposes, “B.C.’s Tommy Douglas” — who is credited with being the father of Medicare in Canada and the politician who introduced the continent’s first single-payer, universal health care program.
PHOTO of Geoff Mynett by Stephen Mynett.
The other shortlisted titles for the George Ryga Award include:
Jean Barman for On the Cusp of Contact (Harbour Publishing).
Emma Hansen for Still: love, loss, and motherhood (Greystone Books).
Benjamin Perrin for Overdose: Heartbreak and Hope in Canada’s Opioid Crisis (Viking Books).
Maureen Webb for Coding Democracy: How Hackers are Disrupting Power, Surveillance, and Authoritarianism (MIT Press).
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. It comes with a $2,500 purse.