Belcourt wins Griffin prize

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

The honours and awards keep coming for a Driftpile First Nations man.

Billy-Ray Belcourt, a graduate of St. Andrew’s School, has won the prestigious $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize, after writing his debut book of poems This Wound is a World.

Belcourt, who becomes the youngest winner of the prize, writes about the challenges Indigenous peoples face in modern society. He accepted his award June 7 in Toronto.

Holy Family Catholic Regional Division congratulated Belcourt on its Website citing sources.

“This book was written not to be a book. It was written…to allow me to figure out how to be in a world that I did not want, a world that many of us who are Indigenous did not want. It was written also to try to bring about the world that we do want collectively,” said Belcourt in his acceptance speech.

A very proud St. Andrew’s principal Marc Lamoureux can’t wait to see what Belcourt accomplishes next. A past class valedictorian, Belcourt also won the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship, becoming the first Indigenous person to do so.

“I had the pleasure of watching Billy-Ray as a student…As a young man, he was always very reflective and intelligent, and we knew he would let his light shine brightly as an adult.”

Belcourt is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. He holds an M.St. in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford and Wadham College.

The book is also a finalist for the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Raymond Souster Award. It is available online through Alpine Book Peddlers and Amazon.


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