A unique award in the Canadian literary landscape, The Kobzar Literary Award recognizes outstanding writing by authors who develop a Ukrainian Canadian theme in their work. Ukrainian Canadians are estimated to be the ninth largest ethnic group in the country, with a population over 1 million, and the Shevchenko Foundation celebrates the community’s contributions to the artistic landscape through the Kobzar Award, which is presented every other year.
It’s a varied shortlist each year due to that fact that the award is open to a wide breadth of genres (literary non-fiction, fiction, poetry, young readers’ literature, plays, screenplays, and musicals). This year, four non-fiction books and one poetry collection are nominated: Lisa Grekul and Lindy Ledohowski, ed. for Unbound: Ukrainian Canadians Writing Home (University of Toronto Press); Bohdan S. Kordan for No Free Man: Canada, the Great War and the Enemy Alien Experience (McGill-Queen’s University Press); Natalia Khanenko-Friesen for Ukrainian Otherlands: Diaspora, Homeland, and Folk Imagination in the Twentieth Century (University of Wisconsin Press); Erin Mouré for Kapusta (House of Anansi Press); and Alexandra Risen for Unearthed: Love, Acceptance, and Other Lessons from an Abandoned Garden (a memoir) (Viking, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Ltd). In a unique twist, Mouré is in the unusual position of being nominated for her collection of poetry while having also contributed an essay to Grekul and Ledohowski’s Unbound.
The 2018 jury is composed of writer, critic and scholar Randy Boyagoda; literary non-fiction writer and political and cultural commentator Charlotte Gray, CM; and poet and nonfiction writer Maurice Mierau, winner of the 2016 Kobzar Literary Award.
The contributing writers to Unbound are: Elizabeth Bachinksy, Marusya Bociurkiw, Janice Kulyk Keefer, Myrna Kostash, Erin Moure, Daria Salamon and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.
Asked in an interview, “What does it mean to you to be nominated for a prize focused on Ukrainian Canadian themes?”, co-editor Lisa Grekul explained:
“Being on the shortlist for this prize is an honour for all of us who collaborated on Unbound: Ukrainian Canadians Writing Home. I see the nomination as recognition for the kinds of risks that we’ve taken, and continue to take, in our writing, which often falls through the cracks of mainstream Canadian literature.
“For me, there’s no separation between my identity as Ukrainian Canadian and the work that I do: they go hand-in-hand. As a scholar and creative writer, and also a professor of “CanLit,” I keep circling back to questions about what it means to be Ukrainian and Canadian, insisting that the answers are necessarily varied, sometimes fraught, and never ‘fixed’ or unchangeable.”
September 6, 2017 Myrna was one of three Edmonton writers – others were Paula Simons and Richard van Camp (great company!) – who read from and discussed their essays to be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine, Eighteen Bridges. We were all commissioned to reflect on Edmonton in light of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. Mine is called “Baba Was an Edmontonian.”
Myrna is joined by other founding members of the Creative Nonfiction Collective at our annual conference, in Vancouver, May 5-6, 2017. Betsy Warland, Anne Campbell and Andreas Schroeder
Myrna was in excellent company at this year’s Word on the Lake Writers Festival in Salmon Arm, BC, May 19-21, 2017.
September 6, 2017 Myrna was one of three Edmonton writers – others were Paula Simons and Richard van Camp (great company!) -who read from and discussed their essays to be published in an upcoming issue of the magazine, Eighteen Bridges. We were all commissioned to reflect on Edmonton in light of the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation. Mine is called “Baba Was an Edmontonian.
Photos from The Seven Oaks Reader Q & A, reading and book signing.
It’s official. You can now buy a house on Kostash Drive. Myrna went to have a look at the road sign in what is still a new suburb, Keswick, in Edmonton’s south-west.