On June 25, 2013 Vancouver-born poet, editor, critic, and children's author William Herbert New was presented with the 20th recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding literary career in British Columbia.
New has written and edited more than 50 books, including the Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada. In 1966 he became assistant editor of Canadian Literature, working with George Woodcock and Donald Stephens. He subsequently edited the review publication from 1977 to 1995.
He has lectured and taught in Australia, India, Italy, China, France, and the United States, and held the Brenda and David MacLean Chair in Canadian Studies at UBC. From 1965 to 2003 he taught English at UBC, specializing in the English literatures of the Commonwealth. New has also been influential on the advisory board for the New Canadian Library series.
His work in recent years includes adult poetry and children's books, such as The Year I Was Grounded and Llamas in the Laundry.
In 2012, New was awarded both the Mayor's Arts Award for Literary Arts in Vancouver and the City of Vancouver Book Award for his poetry collection, YVR (Oolichan). He is the recipient of numerous honours, including appointment to the Order of Canada in 2007, recipient of the Governor General’s Award for International Canadian Studies in 2004, and the Lorne Pierce Medal from the Royal Society of Canada in 2004.
The George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award winner receives $5,000 and has a plaque added in their honour to the Vancouver Public Library's Writers Walk of Fame.
Since 1995, BC BookWorld and the Vancouver Public Library have sponsored the Woodcock Award and the Writers Walk at 350 West Georgia Street in Vancouver. The award is also sponsored by the Writers Trust of Canada and Dr. Yosef Wosk.