The Right Honourable
The Honourable Senator
Advisors during Phase One:
Scotia Giller Prize
Humber College School for Writers
Harbourfront International Authors Festival
Charles Taylor Prize for Non Fiction
||The Kobzar Literary $25,000 Biennial Award
recognizes outstanding contributions to Canadian literary arts by authors who develop a Ukrainian
Canadian theme with literary merit in one of several
genres: literary non-fiction, fiction, poetry, young
readers' literature, plays, screenplays and musicals.
March 2, 2016
Tickets on Sale Now! Call 416-233-9700
Kobzar 2016 Shortlisted Books' Descriptions
By Grant Buday
Born in Vancouver in 1945, seventeen-year-old Cyril Andrachuk has grown up in the shadow of the Holodomor, the famine Stalin inflicted on the Ukrainian people. His silent but loving father dies, and his mother and older brother draw closer. Emotionally inarticulate, they seem to deliberately exclude Cyril from their shared history of horror. But Cyril has his art and loves Connie Chow, a vibrant and non-conforming schoolmate.
Cyril begins to use his talent to come to terms with his family’s sufferings, drawing a series of Stalin portraits to use for his art school application. He also dreams of a life with Connie. Then Connie leaves to pursue acting in Hollywood and his mother discovers the Stalin drawings. She destroys them and Cyril, defeated, gives up art school and goes to work.
But his need to express himself leads back to art. He takes night courses with a Hungarian refugee who encourages him and helps his talent evolve. His relationship with his brother and mother remains painful, but Cyril begins to see how his family’s identity with a traumatic past has marred his future.
The Delusionist explores tenacious artistic ambition, enduring love, and the aftereffects of family trauma.
|The Showman and the
By Orest T. Martynowych
The quixotic and volatile Vasile Avramenko (1895–1981) used folk dance and film in a life-long crusade to promote Ukrainian independence in Canada and the United States.
Energetic and charismatic, but also manipulative, impractical and vain, he was a controversial figure for decades. Born in a village near Kyiv, Avramenko established himself as a performer and dance teacher in central Europe. He immigrated to Canada in 1925, organized Ukrainian folk dance schools, and changed Canadian perceptions of Ukrainians and their folk culture. Determined to conquer Broadway, he moved to New York City in 1929 and continued staging elaborate (money-losing) dance spectacles throughout the United States and Canada.
By the mid-1930s, Avramenko’s frenetic activities expanded to filmmaking. He called for the creation of a “Ukrainian Hollywood,” organized film companies in New York and Winnipeg, and begged and borrowed enough money to produce two musicals directed by Edgar G. Ulmer, the “king of ethnic and B movies.” After the Second World War Avramenko’s career declined and his last decades were spent screening films and travelling to Europe, Australia and Israel in fruitless attempts to find sponsors for his spectacles. Based on extensive original research, the book provides a vivid portrait of howculture and politics intersect in a diaspora community.
|Detachment: An Adoption Memoir
By Maurice Mierau
In 2005, Maurice Mierau and his wife, Betsy, travelled to Ukraine to adopt two small boys, ages three and five. After weeks of delays while navigating a tangled bureaucracy, they returned to Canada as a proud new family of four.
Is family something that is created in an instant? Does fatherhood begin the moment that the adoption papers are signed? And what happens when everything seems to be on the verge of falling apart?
In Detachment, Maurice Mierauprobes not only the process of adoption but what comes after—the challenges of becoming a family, the strain on his marriage. While one of his sons acts out and gets in trouble at school, Maurice feels removed, detached, thinking instead about his own emotionally distant father. Also born in Ukraine, Maurice’s Mennonite father has a traumatic and mysterious past of his own as an orphan and a child refugee of World War II. If Maurice can better understand his father’s life, perhaps he can start to make sense of his new sons…
Detachment is a moving, darkly funny, and searingly unsentimental memoir about learning to become a father and a son.
By Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
Fourteen-year-old Luka works as an Ostarbeiter in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe, alongside Lida from Making Bombs for Hitler. Desperate to escape the brutal conditions of the labour camp, he manages to get away by hiding in a truck under a pile of dead bodies.
Once free, Luka joins a group of Ukrainian resistance fighters. Caught between advancing Nazis in the west and Soviet troops in the east, they mount guerilla raids, help POW escapees, and do all they can to make life hard for the Nazis and Soviets. After the war, Luka must decide whether to follow Lida to Canada — or stay in Europe and search for his long-lost mother.
Underground Soldier is a companion book to Stolen Child and Making Bombs for Hitler, and a perfect entry point into the series for new readers, as the books can be read in any order.
|According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury's Ukrainian Community
By Stacey Zembrzycki
Dreams of steady employment in the mining sector led thousands of Ukrainian immigrants to northern Ontario in the early 1900s. As a child, historian Stacey Zembrzycki listened to her baba’s stories about Sudbury’s small but polarized community and what it was like growing up ethnic during the Depression.
According to Baba grew out of those stories, out of a granddaughter’s desire to capture the experiences of her grandparents’ generation on paper. Eighty-two interviews conducted by Stacey and her grandmother, Olga, laid the groundwork for this insightful and deeply personal social history of one of Canada’s most colourful ethnic communities. The interview process also brought to light the challenges of doing collaborative oral history with community members, particularly as Stacey lost authority to her baba, wrestled it back, and eventually came to share it, and as interviewees met questions with nostalgic reminiscences, subversive humour, or impenetrable silence.
By providing a realistic glimpse into the hard work that goes into making communities partners in oral history research, this book provides a new paradigm for studying the politics of memory, one that recognizes that people are not passive recipients of their histories but rather counter and create narratives about the past by invoking alternative ways of remembering.
Kobzar Literary Award 2016 Shortlisted Authors
Featured at International Festival of Authors
From left to right: Marsha Skrypuch, Maurice Mierau, Orest Martynowych, Stacey Zembrzycki.
From left to right: Marsha Skrypuch, Maurice Mierau, Orest Martynowych, Stacey Zembrzycki and host Ania Szabo at podium.
From left to right:
Kobzar Shortlisted authors: Marsha Skrypuch, Stacey Zembrzycki, Orest Martynowych, Maurice Mierau and Christine Turkewych, Director of Literary Arts, Shevchenko Foundation.
September 7, 2015 (Toronto, Ontario). The Kobzar Literary Award
celebrates narratives that address Ukrainian Canadian themes.
The Kobzar shortlisted authors will read from their works at the International Festival of
Authors (IFOA), on Sunday October 25 at Harbourfront. Tickets for the IFOA are
available at www.IFOA.org.
About Kobzar Literary Award: Launched in 2003 by the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of
Taras Shevchenko, the biennial $25,000 Kobzar Award recognizes outstanding contributions to
Canadian literary arts through presentation of a Ukrainian Canadian theme with literary merit. A
winner will be announced at the award ceremony on March 3, 2016 at Palais Royale in Toronto. www.kobzarliteraryaward.ca
About Shevchenko Foundation: The Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko is a
national, chartered philanthropic institution providing leadership by building and nurturing a
permanent endowment fund dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Ukrainian
Canadian cultural heritage and the advancement of a flourishing Ukrainian community for the
enrichment of Canada. www.shevchenkofoundation.ca
About International Festival of Authors: IFOA presents the finest international novelists,
poets, playwrights, short story writers and biographers, and provides Canadian writers with an
internationally recognized forum in which to present their work. Incorporated in 1986 as a nonprofit
organization with a mandate to cultivate and advance the cause of literature, the
organization operates under the principal sponsorship of Harbourfront Centre.
Kobzar Literary Award
Toronto, July 2, 2015 - The Board of Directors of the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko (Shevchenko Foundation) is pleased to announce the Kobzar 2016 Literary Award judging panel. In alphabetical order:
Professor Tamas Dobozy
“The Board of Directors is proud and very pleased to have the expertise of jurors who are award winners and highly regarded in the literary world. Their choices for the Kobzar shortlist reflect their literary expertise as they diligently selected submissions that best suited our criteria,” states Andrew Hladyshevsky, Q.C., President of the Shevchenko Foundation.
The Kobzar Literary Award was created to foster cultural development through the literary arts and create opportunities for all Canadian writers to explore Ukrainian Canadian themes.
The Kobzar 2016 Literary Award shortlisted finalists will be released soon and the recipient will be announced at an award ceremony on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at Toronto’s Palais Royale.
Presented every two years, the $25,000 Kobzar Literary Award recognizes a Canadian writer who best presents a Ukrainian Canadian theme with literary merit. Each shortlisted author receives $1000.00 .
For more information, view:
Contact: Dr. Christine Turkewych, Director of Literary Arts
March 2, 2016
6th Kobzar Literary
Award in Toronto
January 15, 2017
Deadline for submissions for awarding in March 2018