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Ryga winner speaks for have-nots

Having grown up very poor in rural Alberta, George Ryga would be glad to see the twelfth annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness go to Andrew MacLeod.

May 19th, 2016

Andrew MacLeod will receive the Ryga Award at Vancouver Public Library on June 29, at 7 pm.

The journalist unveils B.C. poverty in A Better Place on Earth.

Andrew MacLeod’s A Better Place on Earth: The Search for Fairness in Super Unequal British Columbia (Harbour 2015) examines how and why the rich in B.C. are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. The Victoria journalist remains outspoken about economic disparity.


Andrew MacLeod

“Christy Clark became premier promising to put families first,” he says, “but five years later British Columbia continues to have one of the worst records in Canada for child poverty.

“B.C.’s economic growth may be leading Canada as the provincial government frequently reminds us, but it’s little comfort to the many people who are struggling to afford a place to live, coping with high debt payments and receiving stagnating wages.”

“Both Justin Trudeau’s 2015 federal election win in Canada and the success of Bernie Sanders’ campaign in the United States have made it clear that a large number of voters in both countries are looking for a fairer deal.

“B.C. politicians should be paying close attention to the trend and making their pitches to voters in the 2017 provincial election accordingly.”

CartoonIn A Better Place on Earth, MacLeod interviews economists, politicians, policy-makers and activists, as well as “those living on the edge” to illustrate the consequences of increasing monetary inequality in B.C.

MacLeod, Legislative Bureau Chief for The Tyee, grew up in Toronto and came to B.C. in 1991. While obtaining an English degree from the University of Victoria, MacLeod was a co-editor of the UVic student newspaper The Martlet in 1992-93. Later he was a staff news writer for Monday Magazine from 2002 to 2007.

Runners-up for this year’s Ryga Award are David Boyd for The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Toward a Greener Future (ECW $19.95)

Larry Gambone for No Regrets (Edmonton: Black Cat Books $18)

Chris and Josh Hergesheimer for The Flour Peddler (Caitlin $24.95)

Carrie Saxifrage for The Big Swim: Coming Ashore in a World Adrift (New Society $16.95)

David Suzuki for Letters to My Grandchildren (Greystone $27.95)

Ryga, George

George Ryga

Judges were librarian Jane Curry (Branch Head, Kerrisdale Branch, Vancouver Public Library), author Trevor Carolan (professor of English and Asian Religion at University College of the Fraser Valley) and author George Johnson (Professor of English at Thompson and a long-time Chair of the Global and Community Action Committeee at Kamloops United Church).

Supported by Yosef Wosk and Vancouver Public Library, the $2500 Ryga Award is administered by Pacific BookWorld News Society.

The presentation event is a free event, open to the public, in conjunction with the ceremony to present the annual George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award.


Shelley Wright & Anne Chudyk VPL 2015

Last year’s winner Shelley Wright with Anne Chudyk

Inspired by Summerland playwright George Ryga, the first annual Marginal Arts Festival will be held at venues throughout Summerland on the Labour Day long weekend, September 1-4. One headliner will be Ryga’s eldest son, Campbell Ryga, an internationally-known jazz musician who apprenticed with the legendary Miles Davis sideman George Coleman. See marginalarts.ca

Also, George Ryga’s sister, Anne Chudyk, along with her husband Ted Chudyk, have established two annual $1,000 Anne & Ted Chudyk Memorial Awards in Memory of George Ryga for fulltime Okanagan College students interested in creating awareness of social issues.


4 Responses to “Ryga winner speaks for have-nots”

  1. John H says:

    Hello Tyee and Andrew MacLeod, Congrats Andrew for winning the George Ryga award, I would have liked to be at the Library for 7pm but I have an 8 pm appointment on the Nth Shore.
    I note that it mentions Andrew is say a Victoria resident, if so although it may be of a separate from which he writes, he may be interest in a possible Front Page Justice investigation appertaining to Victoria, BC. For have we not had the later surfacing of the Catholic Priest abuses,the UK Jimmy Saville and Aussie Rolf Harris TV personalities abuses.
    Here Andrew and the Tyee can contact me for information and evidence of high Criminal action combined between Vancouver and Victoria. This is separate from the 2005 ? Victoria Legislature Police raid, which was closed down.

  2. David Beers says:

    Hi, Congrats to Andrew! This article mentions the presentation event is free but does not give date time and place. It’s June 29, 7 pm, Vancouver Public Library main branch, Alice MacKay room. More info here:


    • Alan Twigg says:

      That piece was posted back in mid-May. We’ve since published other material that contains in the event info: Presentation is at the VPL Main Branch, Wednesday, June 29, 7 PM. Free to the public.

  3. Elaine Husband says:

    Congratulations to Andrew NacLeod on Winning the George Ryga award.
    George Ryga was a close friend of mine. The last time I saw George was when he was in Calgary to negotiate with the University of Calgary which purchased his papers. At the airport I hugged him saying goodbye. He replied “I never say goodbye”. He obviously knew he was dying and in 3 months at age 56 was gone. But his spirit lives on.

    How serendipitous that about five years ago I had a memorable opportunity to meet Andrew and his amazing family. George would have been so proud that this award in his name would go to someone who truly is a fine writer and a kindred spirit.

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