Source: CODE

Richard Wagamese Wins "Burt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature" First Prize

Thousands of copies of three winning titles to be distributed to youth through unique literary award's book purchase and distribution program

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 3, 2013) - The first winners of a unique literary award that will provide thousands of First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada with access to culturally-relevant, engaging books were announced on October 2nd.

Shelagh Rogers and Waubgeshig Rice co-hosted the inaugural gala for CODE's Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, recognizing outstanding literary works for young adults written by First Nations, Métis and Inuit authors.

Richard Wagamese received the first prize of $12,000 for Indian Horse (published by Douglas and McIntyre), Tara Lee Morin won the second prize of $8,000 for As I Remember It (published by Theytus Books), while the third prize of $5,000 went to James Bartleman for As Long As the Rivers Flow (published by Random House of Canada Ltd.) The winners were selected by a jury composed of Canadian writers administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

The Award's book purchase and distribution program will ensure that a minimum of 2,500 copies of each of the three winning titles will be delivered to First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth across Canada through community libraries, schools, Friendship Centres and summer literacy camps.

"It's really important to us that the winning books actually get in the hands of young people," said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. "Thanks to our partners, we can make sure that these three truly amazing works reach First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth, even in remote communities, so they can enjoy stories in which they see their culture and their reality reflected."

The Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature was established by CODE - a Canadian charitable organization that has been advancing literacy and learning in Canada and around the world for over 50 years - in collaboration with William (Bill) Burt and the Literary Prizes Foundation.

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, Frontier College, GoodMinds, the Association of Canadian Publishers and the Canada Council for the Arts.

"I want to congratulate the winners and everyone who submitted works for the first edition of the Canadian Award," said William (Bill) Burt, who financially supports the initiative. "It's my hope that First Nations, Métis and Inuit youth will enjoy them, get inspired to keep learning, and develop a life-long love of reading."

CODE's Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature is an annual award. The deadline for submissions of manuscripts or recently-published books for the next edition is May 1st, 2014.

The Burt Literary Awards is a global readership initiative and is also currently established in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and the Caribbean.

For further details on the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature, go to

About CODE

If you can read and write, you can learn to do, and be, anything. That's the idea behind CODE. A Canadian NGO with over 50 years of experience, CODE advances literacy and learning in Canada and around the world. CODE's international programs encourage development through education through support to libraries, professional development for teachers, as well as national and local book publishing in 20 languages.

About the winners

First Prize: Richard Wagamese is one of Canada's foremost Native authors and storytellers. Working as a professional writer since 1979 he's been a newspaper columnist and reporter, radio and television broadcaster and producer, documentary producer and the author of thirteen titles from major Canadian publishers.

Second Prize: Born in Northern Manitoba, and a foster child, Tara Lee Morin resides in a small town in northern B.C. She is currently writing a sequel to her memoir As I Remember It as well as an illustrated children's book about children entering foster care. Tara Lee Morin has worked with local First Nations. She started writing as a young child. Her passion remains the welfare of children.

Third Prize: James Bartleman rose from humble circumstances in Port Carling, Ontario, to become Foreign Policy Advisor to the right PM Chrétien in 1994. After a distinguished career of more than thirty-five years in the Canadian foreign service, in 2002 he became the first Native Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario. He is the author of the prize-winning memoir Out of Muskoka.

Contact Information:

Dominique Naud
Communications Manager
613-232-3569 ext. 252