CODE Announces 2014 Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature Finalists

Unique initiative spreads the joy of reading to Aboriginal youth with engaging books

In the lead up to International Literacy Day, CODE is proud to announce the 2014 finalists for its Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature.

This year’s shortlisted titles, selected by a jury composed of Canadian writers administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are (in alphabetical order):

  • The Girl Who Grew A Galaxy by Cherie Dimaline (published by Theytus Books)
  • The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America by Thomas King (published by Doubleday Canada)
  • They Called Me Number One by Bev Sellars (published by Talonbooks)
  • Tilly, a Story of Hope and Resilience by Monique Gray Smith (published by Sono Nis Press)

The winners of the second edition of this annual Award will be announced on September 27, 2014 at a Gala hosted by Shelagh Rogers and Wab Kinew at the Manitoba Theatre for Young People in Winnipeg.

 “We’re excited to continue the work we started in the inaugural year of the Award to spread the joy of reading across the country with the excellent and engaging books for young people in this year’s shortlist,” said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter.

In 2013, over 7,500 copies of the first three winning titles were distributed to some 980 locations in all provinces and territories. The reaction from community workers and educators who received the books to use as part of their curriculum or programming with First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth was overwhelmingly positive.

“Students are intrinsically motivated to react to the situations presented in these novels and are able to use various modes of learning to express with ease their understandings and personal reactions to [these situations],” summarized  Brenda Jeddore, a teacher at the Se't A'newey School in Miawpukek, Newfoundland and Labrador.“[Initiatives] such as the Burt Award allow for students and teachers alike to discover ­in a vibrant literary medium ­the plight of First Nations people through literature.”

A First Prize of $12,000, a Second Prize of $8,000 and a Third Prize of $5,000 will be awarded to the authors of the winning titles. In addition, publishers of the winning titles will be awarded a guaranteed purchase of a minimum of 2,500 copies, which will ensure that First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada will have access to the books through their community’s schools, libraries, or Friendship Centres.

Established by CODE – a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning for 55 years – in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation, theBurt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature aims to provide engaging and culturally-relevant books for young people across Canada by recognizing excellence in English-language literary works for Young Adults by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors.

The Award is the result of a close collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the National Association of Friendship Centres, the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Canada Council for the Arts, GoodMinds and Frontier College.

CODE’s Burt Award is a global readership initiative and is also currently established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and the Caribbean.

Read more about the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature      

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
News Type: 
Burt Award News
Press Release