Burt Award First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature seal

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Young Adult Literature

Congratulations to Cherie Dimaline and her book The Marrow Thieves

Winner of the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature

Fire Song by Adam Garnet Jones (Annick Press) 2018 Honour Book 

The Journey Forward: Two Novellas on Reconciliation by Richard Van Camp and Monique Gray Smith (McKellar and Martin)  2018 Honour Book 

Thousands of copies of these three winning titles of the CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature will be distributed to youth through this unique literary award’s book purchase and distribution program.

This year, the award ceremony was hosted by the Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan (School) located within the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community adjacent to Maniwaki, Quebec. CODE was honoured to be invited into the community to help us celebrate this year’s authors and their books. Over 200 students and teachers attended the event. It was an exciting and energizing day with creative writing workshops, readings and presentations, and the award ceremony. Jay Odjick, artist, writer and television producer from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg community co-hosted the event along with Julia Caron, from CBC.

"I will never forget this day, meeting the students and teachers and receiving the 2018 CODE Burt Honour Book Award was one of my highest achievements because I can still hear the morning prayer. I can still hear and feel the songs and drums. I can still see the smiles and feel the pride in the room for everyone who was here. I am proud to stand with Cherie Demaline and Adam Garnett Jones. I am a huge fan of their work and I can't wait to see what happens next year for the new voices that will be honoured in such a sweet way. Mahsi cho!" - Richard Van Camp, Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, NWT.

Thirty-five students from Immaculata School in Ottawa made the journey to Kitigan Zibi to participate in the event. It was a chance for teachers and students to meet each other in the school. The practice of Truth and Reconciliation can be a difficult one. It requires honesty, openness, and allyship, which is the process of fostering relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous inhabitants of Turtle Island. The two schools, Kitigan Zibi and Immaculata, are embarking on a journey of Truth and Reconciliation this spring. The students from both schools will be working together to explore many of the profound themes found in Cherie Dimaline’s The Marrow Thieves. Staff and students will once again, come together at the end of the year, in friendship to celebrate all that they have learned. Hopefully this will be the beginning a bond that will endure for years to come.    

“CODE is delighted to once again recognize works of excellence by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis creators,” said CODE Executive Director, Scott Walter. These compelling stories are helping change and enrich the literary landscape in Canada while fostering new understandings of the relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous inhabitants of Turtle Island.  CODE is proud to support these great books, but even more satisfying is the knowledge that through our guaranteed purchase they will be made accessible to indigenous youth, right across the nation.”

We want to thank Kitigan Zibi School for hosting the event. And to all of the teachers and students from Immaculata, Woodland High and Rapid Lake School - thank you for making the award ceremony a delighful and fun filled day. Keep reading!!

About the CODE Burt Award

The CODE Burt Award is a literary award and readership initiative that recognizes excellent, engaging, and culturally relevant books in English for young adults (aged 12 through 18). The award program was established by CODE, a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 59 years along with the generous support of William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation.

Here in Canada, the CODE Burt Award recognizes excellence in young adult books written, illustrated, and/or translated by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis creators. The Canadian program was developed in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami the Métis National Council, the National Association of Friendship Centres, Frontier College, GoodMinds, the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Canada Council, and our newest partner, the National Reading Campaign

As part of this program, CODE purchases up to 2,500 copies of each winning title and sends sets of these acclaimed books to schools, libraries, community centres, and Friendship Centres across the country. We want to thank you for your time and effort in ensuring these books make into the hands of young adult readers. Several publishers have created teacher resource guides to help you along the way, and we encourage you to incorporate these into reading programs, book clubs, library reading programs, and literacy programs.

Complete Burt Award background and detailed information pdf

For more information contact:
Lynn O’Rourke
Program Manager, Literary Awards & Publishing
lorourke@code.ngo
613-232-3569 or 1-800-661-2633 x 244

Our Partners 

Latest News

View All News


Cherie Dimaline’s book The Marrow Thieves receives the top prize for Indigenous Young Adult Literature

Nov 29, 2018

Thousands of copies of the three winning titles of the CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature will be distributed to youth through this unique literary award’s book purchase and distribution program. Ottawa, November 2018 — Cherie Dimaline’s book, The Marrow Thieves (Dancing Cat/Cormorant Books) received the 2018 Winning prize of $12,000.00 during the 6th...


CODE proudly announced the three shortlisted titles for the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature

Sep 20, 2018

CODE proudly announced the three shortlisted titles for the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature during the 2018 Turtle Island Reads launch event at McGill University, Montreal on September 19, 2018 during the on-campus Indigenous Awareness Week.


CODE announces the nine titles eligible for the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature

Aug 15, 2018

Ottawa, August 15, 2018 In June 2018, the National Reading Campaign adjudicated the 9 young adult submissions to the 2018 CODE Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Young Adult Literature . Lead by Nancy Cooper, the peer assessment committee consisted of Adina Duffy, Wilfred Burton and Michelle Corneau. This year Eden Gepner Bourgeois, a 14-year old Cree-Metis “who loves reading”, joined...