New Indigenous writing awards for emerging authors announced

Spinning out of the recent 'appropriation prize’ CanLit controversy, the inaugural Indigenous Voices Awards will support new Indigenous writers.
Lawyer Robin Parker started this fundraiser for a "Canadian literary award to support the vision of emerging Indigenous writers." (IndieGoGo)

The Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) announced it has launched a new Indigenous writing prize for emerging authors.

The inaugural Indigenous Voices Awards (IVAs) will support the work of Indigenous writers with five awards for unpublished work totalling $10,000 and three awards for published work totalling $15,000.

Funds for the awards were raised initially through a crowd-funded campaign begun by Toronto-based lawyer Robin Parker, who partnered with the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) for the awards' administration, supplemented by funds raised by Vancouver-based writer and editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

Parker's idea for an award fund is in response to the uproar over an editorial published in Write magazine that argued in favour of "cultural appropriation" and a subsequent scandal involving several media executives — including one from CBC — who tweeted that they would contribute money to an appropriation prize.

The IVAs will support Indigenous literary works, including novels, creative nonfiction, short stories, poetry, orality, graphic novels, comics, slam, drama, music lyrics, screenwriting and other forms.

Judges for the inaugural prize will include Shelagh Rogers, host of the CBC Radio program The Next Chapter, along with Indigenous writers Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Gregory Scofield, Richard Van Camp, Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau, Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley and Haitian-Canadian poet Rodney Saint-Éloi.

The deadline for submissions in Jan. 31, 2018. The results of the 2017 competition will be announced in the spring 2018.

The IVA will also offer an award for an emerging Indigenous writer and an award an established Indigenous writer, with prize amounts to be determined at a later date. 

— With files from CBC News