The 2022 Ryga Award shortlist has been announced, and three Harbour books have been included:
Becoming Vancouver: A History, a brisk chronicle of Vancouver, BC, from early days to its emergence as a global metropolis, refracted through the events, characters and communities that have shaped the city, by Daniel Francis.
Possessing Meares Island: A Historian's Journey into the Past of Clayoquot Sound, a fascinating account that links early maritime history, Indigenous land rights, and modern environmental advocacy in the Clayoquot Sound region, by Barry Gough.
Creeland (Nightwood Editions), a debut collection preoccupied with the role of Indigenous aesthetics in the creation and nurturing of complex Indigenous lifeworlds, by Dallas Hunt.
Becoming Vancouver: A History follows the evolution of the city from early habitation by the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, to the area’s settlement as a mill town, to the flourishing speakeasies and brothels during the 1920s, to the years of poverty and protest during the 1930s followed by the long wartime and postwar boom, to the city’s current status as real-estate investment choice of the global super-rich. Tracing decades of transformation, immigration and economic development, Francis examines the events and characters that have defined the city’s geography, economy and politics.
Daniel Francis has written over thirty books, primarily about Canadian, British Columbian and Vancouver history. He has received an Award of Merit from the Vancouver Historical Society for significant contributions to the history of Vancouver and British Columbia, as well as the prestigious Pierre Berton Award—the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media—honouring achievement in bringing Canadian history to a wider audience. He lives in North Vancouver, BC.
Possessing Meares Island: A Historian's Journey into the Past of Clayoquot Sound weaves a unique history out of the mists of time by connecting eighteenth-century Indigenous-colonial trade relations to more recent historical upheavals.
Gough bridges the gap between centuries as he describes how the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council draw on a complicated history of ownership to invoke their legal claim to the land and defend the majestic wilderness from the indiscriminate clear-cut saw. Possessing Meares Island will not only appeal to history buffs, but to anyone interested in a momentous triumph for Indigenous rights and environmental protection that echoes across the nation today.
Barry Gough, one of Canada's foremost historians, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of King's College London and Life Member of the Association of Canadian Studies and has been awarded a Doctor of Letters for distinguished contributions to Imperial and Commonwealth history. He is well recognized for the authenticity of his research and the engaging nature of his narratives and is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including Fortune's a River: The Collision of Empires in Northwest America (Harbour, 2007), which won the John Lyman Book Award for best Canadian naval and maritime history and was shortlisted for the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize. Gough has been writing for almost four decades. He lives in Victoria, BC, with his wife, Marilyn.
Creeland is a poetry collection concerned with notions of home and the quotidian attachments we feel to those notions, even across great distances. Even in an area such as Treaty Eight (northern Alberta), a geography decimated by resource extraction and development, people are creating, living, laughing, surviving and flourishing—or at least attempting to.
The poems in this collection aim to honour the encounters that everyday Cree economies enable, and the words that try—and ultimately fail—to articulate them. Hunt gestures to the movements, speech acts and relations that exceed available vocabularies, that may be housed within words like joy, but which the words themselves cannot fully convey. This debut collection is vital in the context of a colonial aesthetic designed to perpetually foreclose on Indigenous futures and erase Indigenous existence.
Dallas Hunt is Cree and a member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation) in Treaty Eight territory in northern Alberta. He has had creative worked published in Contemporary Verse 2, Prairie Fire, PRISM international and Arc Poetry. His first children’s book, Awâsis and the World-famous Bannock, was published through Highwater Press in 2018, and was nominated for several awards. Hunt is an assistant professor of Indigenous literatures at the University of British Columbia.
The George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature is an annual literary prize for a B.C. writer who has achieved an outstanding degree of social awareness in a new book published in the preceding calendar year. It was initiated by Alan Twigg of BC BookWorld with John Lent of Okanagan College in association with The George Ryga Society. The award is sponsored by Yosef Wosk. More information is available at: https://bcbookawards.ca/