Shortlist announced for 2011 George Ryga Awards

The George Ryga Society and Okanagan College have announced the shortlist for the eighth annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.

The George Ryga Society and Okanagan College have announced the shortlist for the eighth annual George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature.

The son of Ukrainian immigrants, George Ryga settled in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley where he was known as a feisty playwright committed to social justice in works like The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.

The Ryga Award celebrates his legacy by searching for an outstanding work of literary and social value by a B.C. writer.

The 2011 competition marks the expansion of the shortlist from three books to five due to a record number of submissions, 57 in all.

“It’s a happy problem for us,” said Matt Kavanagh, chair of the department of English at the college.

“There are a number of worthy titles, which prompted a lively debate at our shortlisting meeting.

“The finalists range from a harrowing examination of human trafficking in Canada to a close study of B.C.’s iconic Cowichan sweater, which reveals how aboriginal women have woven themselves into the fabric of our nation.”

The winner of the 2011 Ryga Award will be announced at a gala presentation on Oct. 1 held at the Centre Stage Theatre in Summerland.