100 years of BC books

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Twigg takes the 20th Ryga Award

April 14th, 2023

The recipient of this year’s George Ryga Award for a BC writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness in a new book published in the preceding calendar year, is Alan Twigg for Out of Hiding: Holocaust Literature of British Columbia (Ronsdale $24.95).

Twigg’s comprehensive collection of memories and historical context that covers 85 authors and 160 books from British Columbia, was hailed by the award judges for its raw power and commitment to antisemitism. The many perspectives presented serve to show the wide scope of the Holocaust and its impact across so many parts of the world. Twigg’s research uncovered never-before published photos of just-liberated Nazi concentration camps in 1945, some of the book’s almost 100 illustrations and pictures. This book’s importance will continue to grow as the few remaining survivors and firsthand witnesses of the Holocaust age and die.

Other shortlisted writers:

-Carole Blackburn: Beyond Rights: The Nisg̱a’a Final Agreement and the Challenges of Modern Treaty Relationships (UBC Press)

-Maureen Brownlee: Cambium Blue: A Novel (Harbour Publishing)

-Joseph Dandurand: The Punishment: Poems (Nightwood Editions)

-Stefanie Green: This is Assisted Dying: A Doctor’s Story of Empowering Patients at the End of Life (Simon & Schuster)

The Ryga award will be presented along with the Geroge Woodcock Award for Lifetime Achievement (the year’s recipient is poet Susan Musgrave) at Vancouver Public Library, central branch, 350 West Georgia Street on May 9 at 6 pm. This event is open to the public.



The social critic Stan Persky once described Alan Twigg as “the Robin Hood of Canadian Literature.” In June of 2022, he was accorded an honorary Ph.D [D.Litt] from Simon Fraser University. In conferring Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, the university described him as “B.C.’s leading man of letters” and stated he “has made a multitude of important contributions to literature in the province, writing 20 books and founding and publishing B.C. BookWorld newspaper for more than three decades.”

Alan Twigg was inducted as a member of the Order of Canada in 2015. He received the 13th annual Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence in 2016. Previously he was the first and only recipient of ABPBC Media Award in 1988; he was named the first recipient of the Gray Campbell Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contributions to literature and publishing in 2000. In 2007, he became the second person (after Vancouver Sun journalist Douglas Todd) to accept the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Fellowship in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University “to recognize and support leaders in the humanities who are not necessarily part of the academy.” In the same year he was the first Writer in Residence at the George Price Center for Peace in Belize. In 2010, he received the Pandora’s Collective Publisher’s Award of Merit. In 2011 he received the Mayor of Vancouver’s annual Literary Arts Award. “Few writers,” wrote critic John Moore, “would have sacrificed so much time and energy to promote OTHER writers, for so many years, as he has done. If he’d just written his own stuff, he would have lapped George Woodcock, twice, by now.” In 2013, he won a gold medal in soccer for Canada at the World Masters Games in Turin, Italy.

Books (and other media) by Alan Twigg:

Out of Hiding: Holocaust Literature of British Columbia (Ronsdale, 2022) $49.95 9781553806776

Gidal: Letters and Photos, the Unusual Friendship of Yosef Wosk and Tim Gidal (Douglas & McIntyre, 2021)

Tolstoy’s Words to Live By (Ronsdale, 2020). Translated and edited by Peter Sekerin and Alan Twigg.

Moon Madness: Dr. Louise Aall, Sixty Years of Healing in Africa (Ronsdale, 2019)

Undaunted: The Best of BC BookWorld (Ronsdale, 2013). 978-1-55380-253-2 242 p.

Memories of Chekhov: Accounts of the Writer from His Family, Friends and Contemporaries (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Press, 2011). Edited and translated by Peter Sekirin; Introduction by Alan Twigg

The Essentials: 150 Great B.C. Books & Authors. (Ronsdale, 2010). 978-1-55380-108-5 320 p.

Tibetans in Exile: The Dalai Lama & The Woodcocks (Ronsdale, 2009). 978-1-55380-079-8 271 p.

Full-Time: A Soccer Story (Douglas Gibson Books, McClelland & Stewart, 2008) 978-0-7710-8645-8 293 p.

Thompson’s Highway: British Columbia’s Fur Trade, 1800-1850 (Ronsdale, 2006) 978-1-55380-039-2 253 p.

Understanding Belize: A Historical Guide (Harbour 2006) 240 p.

Aboriginality: The Literary Origins of British Columbia (Ronsdale 2005) 260 p.

First Invaders: The Literary Origins of British Columbia (Ronsdale 2004) 229 p.

101 Top Historical Sites of Cuba (Beach Holme 2004) 126 p.

Intensive Care: A Memoir (Anvil Press 2002) 80 p.

Cuba: A Concise History for Travellers (Harbour, 2004; Penguin Books 2002; Bluefield Books 2000) 198 p.

Twigg’s Directory of 1001 BC Writers (Crown Publications, 1992) 194 p.

Strong Voices: Conversations with 50 Canadian Writers (Harbour, 1988). 291 p.

Vander Zalm, From Immigrant to Premier: A Political Biography (Harbour, 1986)

Vancouver and Its Writers (Harbour, 1986) 165 p.

Hubert Evans: The First Ninety-Three Years (Harbour 1985)

For Openers: Conversations with 24 Canadian Writers (Harbour 1981)


First Invaders: The Literary Origins of British Columbia, Vol. 1 (Peking University Press, 2013)

Aboriginality: The Literary Origins of British Columbia, Vol. 2 (Peking University Press, 2013)

Thompson’s Highway: British Columbia’s Fur Trade, 1800-1850: The Literary Origins of British Columbia, Vol. 3 (Peking University Press, 2013)


Conversations with Robertson Davies (University Press of Mississippi, 1989)

Margaret Atwood, Conversations (Firefly, 1990)

Take This Waltz: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen (The Muses Company, 1994)

Uncommon Ground: A Celebration of Matt Cohen (Knopf, 2002)

Conversations with Allen Ginsberg (University Press of Mississippi, 2019) Edited by David Stephen Calonne


George Woodcock: Anarchist of Cherry Street

Eric Nicol: Look Back in Humour

Peter Trower: The Men They Were Then

Jeannette Armstrong: Knowledge-Keeper of the Okanagan

Spilsbury’s Coast

The Little Prince in Vancouver

[Various television interviews about Full-Time are available via YouTube. Also a composer and musician, Alan Twigg performed one of his songs at The Playhouse Theatre during Sam Sullivan’s Public Salon in November of 2012 / https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mjh-czjtZQs.

For further information, go to www.alantwigg.com.

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