Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Writers disappointed in provincial cuts to literary prizes

  • Print

The organizers of the Manitoba Book Awards have been left with a shortfall of almost $9,000 a year after the province cut support to three prominent literary prizes.

The $3,500 cash prizes that accompany the annual Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction and the biennial Rue-Deschambault French literary prize have been axed.

The Manitoba Writers’ Guild, which co-sponsors the book awards ceremony each April with the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers, issued an open letter of protest to the premier this afternoon.

A spokeswoman for Culture Minister Flor Marcelino on Thursday defended the province’s decision.
"We’re taking a balanced approach — finding ways to reduce spending responsibly while ensuring that funding is there for front-line services," a spokeswoman for culture minister Flor Marcelino said on Thursday.
"The province continues to provide more than $30 million annually to Manitoba’s arts, cultural and heritage organizations."

Book awards organizers are hoping to replace the cash with another sponsor or perhaps give out the prizes without a cash stipend, Michelle Peters, executive director of the AMBP, said today.

"Of course, we’re pretty disappointed," she said.

Winnipeg historian Allan Levine decried the decision.

"How utterly pathetic that the government sees $8,700 as a real saving," said Levine, who won the Isbister prize in 2011 for his nationally acclaimed biography of William Lyon Mackenzie King.

"I see government financial support of these awards as an acknowledgment that arts in the province are worth celebrating. In Ontario, for example, the government has stood behind the Trillium book awards."

The Laurence, Isbister and Deschambault book prizes were introduced in 2000 by former culture minister Diane McGifford.

In recent years, about $30,000 in prizes have been awarded annually to writers at the Manitoba Book Awards. These include the $5,000 Book of the Year Award from McNally Robinson Booksellers and the $5,000 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award from the city.

Last year’s Laurence award went to David Bergen for his novel The Age of Hope. The Isbister award went to Winnipeg Art Gallery curator Darlene Wight for her Inuit art book Creation and Transformation.

morley.walker@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 4:28 PM CDT: Added government comment

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Étienne Gaboury: Manitoba "shining light" of architecture

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(Standup photo)- Humming Around- A female ruby -throated hummingbird fly's through the bee bomb  flowers Friday at the Assiniboine Park English Garden- Nectar from flowers are their main source of food. Hummingbirds wings can beat as fast as 75x times second. Better get a glimpse of them soon the birds fly far south for the winter - from Mexico to South America- JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Sept 10, 2009

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think Judy Wasylycia-Leis will greatly benefit from the endorsement by Winnipeg's firefighters?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google