Shelley Wright Wins Newly Re-imagined Ryga Award

The George Ryga Award for Social Awareness will be presented to author Shelly Wright at the Vancouver Public Library, on June 11, with a $2,000 cash prize and a civic declaration of Author Appreciation Day. 

Shelley Wright’s book Our Ice Is Vanishing / Sikuvut Nunguliqtuq: A History of Inuit, Newcomers, and Climate Change (McGill-Queen's) has won the prestigious award for revealing how the Inuit have become the witnesses and messengers for climate change.

Replete with Shelley Wright’s recollections and photos, this absorbing exposé of the legacies of exploration and intervention in Canada’s north has been selected as the first presented-in-Vancouver winner from more than forty entries. Wright lived and travelled in the Arctic for more than ten years beginning with her experiences as the Northern Director of the Akitsiraq Law School based in Iqaluit. Now a professor of Aboriginal Studies at Langara College, she has combined scientific and legal information, along with political and individual perspectives, to elucidate how serious are the effects of climate change in the Arctic.

Formerly Okanagan-based and hosted by Okanagan College and George Ryga House in Summerland, the Ryga Award, one of the province’s foremost literary awards, has gained new life this year. With the dissolution of the George Ryga Society, the Ryga Prize has been rescued and enhanced with a $2,000 cash award for the winner. It will now be presented in tandem with the province’s most illustrious literary prize, the $5,000 George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award (awarded this year to Wayson Choy.)

The judges for the Ryga Award were retired Ukrainian Canadian archivist George Brandak; George Ryga’s sister Anne Chudyk and journalist Beverly Cramp.

The ceremony will take place at 7 pm, in the Alice MacKay Room at the Vancouver Public Library. The event is open to the public.

For more information about George Ryga, visit the BC Book World website HERE.

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