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Ryga Award longlist announced

February 13th, 2017

Since 2003, the annual George Ryga [at right] Award has been 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.

The award was initiated by Alan Twigg of BC BookWorld and John Lent of Okanagan College in association with The George Ryga Society. A $2,000 award is now presented each year at the Vancouver Public Library, coincidental with the presentation of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award, in June.

In 2003, Maggie de Vries won the first Ryga Award for her memoir Missing Sarah (Penguin Canada) about her sister who went missing on the Downtown Eastside.

In 2004, The Greenpeace to Amchitka: An Environmental Odyssey (Arsenal Pulp Press) by the late Robert Hunter was selected and the award was presented to Robert Hunter’s widow during a Greenpeace crew reunion.

In 2005, the winning book was In Plain Sight: Reflections On Life In Downtown Eastside Vancouver (Talonbooks), edited by Leslie Robertson and Dara Culhane.

Last year’s winner was Tyee journalist Andrew MacLeod for A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia (Harbour 2015).

For a complete list or recipients, visit

This year’s three judges – author/professor Trevor Carolan, Vancouver Public Library branch manager Jane Curry and journalist/author Beverly Cramp – have selected the following longlist of ten titles, all published in B.C.

A shortlist will appear in the Spring issue of BC BookWorld.

In alphabetic order, according to author surnames, here are the ten longlisted titles for the 2017 George Ryga Award for Social Awareness.

Once in Blockadia, Stephen Collis (TalonBooks)

Ivan Coyote

Tomboy Survival Guide, Ivan Coyote (Arsenal Pulp)

Wade Davis: Photographs, Wade Davis (D&M)

The News We Deserve: The Transformation of Canada’s Media Landscape, Marc Edge (New Star)

I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up, James Hoggan with Grania Litwin (New Society)

Eric Jamieson

The Native Voice: The Story of How Maisie Hurley and Canada’s First Aboriginal Newspaper Changed a Nation, Eric Jamieson (Caitlin)   

Remembered in Bronze and Stone: Canada’s Great War Memorial Statuary, Alan Livingstone MacLeod (Heritage House)

The Peace in Peril: The Real Cost of the Site C Dam, Christopher Pollon & Ben Nelms (Harbour)

Dysconnected: Humans Isolated by their Personal Technology, Anton Scamvougeras (AJKS Publishing)

Ron Smith

The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke, Ron Smith (Ronsdale Press)


This year there were a record number of entries (47).

For more information, contact

2 Responses to “Ryga Award longlist announced”

  1. Bill Murdoch says:

    Fitting reward for Ron’s long road to recovery and the Herculean task of communicating his experience one .letter at a time.

  2. Marilyn Henderson says:

    As a spouse of a stroke survivor, the book written by Ron Smith–“The Defiant Mind: Living Inside a Stroke'” is a must read for all. Ron describes in great detail what was going on in his brain at the time of the clot lodging in a vessel in his brain.
    His vivid description of thoughts and things he could remember at the time. It’s amazing in all that he could remember through out post stroke and the detailed care he received pre and in hospital and actually typing the manuscript on the computer with one finger on his non dominant hand. Being a retired RN and having cared for many patients ( at the bedside through out my nursing career), who had suffered a stroke made it an even more fascinating book to read. I had great difficulty in putting it down as other things needed to be done or taken care of through out the day. I am amazed at the tenacity Ron had in sticking with this project until it’s completion. Because for one thing, my husband often used to say ‘come evening time the honey pot is low and the brain begins to shut down just to protect itself’ The brain is a very intricate and complex part of the human body makeup. Never under estimate it’s capabilities even when some part of it has been injured. We now know that it is like ‘plastic’ and will heal itself in time with various kinds of exercises, therapies involving the whole body, and it so benefits greatly from music—listening and singing or even playing an instrument.

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