Lee Maracle to receive $10K Harbourfront Festival Prize for contributions to literature

The prolific creator of books such as I Am Woman and Celia's Song, has been tapped for the annual award.
Lee Maracle is a prolific author of poetry, fiction and nonfiction works. (Columpa Bobb)

Celebrated poet and author Lee Maracle has been selected for the annual $10,000 Harbourfront Festival Prize, an award administered by the Toronto International Festival of Authors in recognition of an author's contribution to the Canadian literary community. 

Maracle, a member of the Sto:lo Nation, is the creator of iconic books such as I Am Woman and Celia's Song. She will accept the award at the Toronto International Festival of Authors in October. 

"This is such an honour to be recognized by the Toronto International Festival of Authors," said Maracle in a news release. "I have been a participant on many occasions at this festival and am honoured to accept it. This moves me to know that others believe my work is worthy of such attention."

Maracle published her first book, the autobiographical novel Bobbi Lee: Indian Rebelin 1975. It was one of the first Indigenous works published in Canada and began a critically acclaimed and award-winning career in writing, teaching and activism.

Her most recent works include My Conversations With Canadiansa collection of essays on questions she's been asked throughout her career, and Memory Serves, which anthologizes Maracle's lectures on Sto:lo history, memory and philosophy.

Maracle was selected for this year's honour by past recipients Joseph Kertes and Miriam Toews, along with Toronto International Festival of Authors director Geoffrey E. Taylor.

"Widely considered one of the most prestigious Indigenous authors in Canada, Maracle's impressive body of work — which includes poetry, scriptwriting and novels — has undoubtedly helped shape the next generation of writers. I can think of no one more deserving of this accolade," said Taylor in an email to CBC Books.

Established in 1984, past Harbourfront Festival Prize recipients include Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood and Michael Ondaatje.

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