Terms & Conditions – Ratified September 2017

Background

The Indigenous Voices Awards (IVAs) were established in 2017 to support and nurture the work of Indigenous writers in lands claimed by Canada. Funds for the awards were raised initially through a crowd-funded campaign begun by Robin Parker, who partnered with the Indigenous Literary Studies Association (ILSA) for the awards’ administration, supplemented by funds raised by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. While Parker set an initial fundraising goal of $10,000 to support emerging Indigenous writers, the grass-roots initiative raised $116,565 in four months. These monies have since been supplemented by further donations from various groups and individuals. To honour the spirit of the campaign and the generosity of its initial 1,563 donors, the IVAs will be devoted in their inaugural year of 2017 to “Emerging” Indigenous writers, with 5 awards for unpublished work totalling $10,000 and 3 awards for published work totalling $15,000; the results of the 2017 competition will be announced in the Spring of 2018. Subsequent to the 2017 award competition, the IVAs will offer two yearly awards: one for an emerging Indigenous writer and one for an established Indigenous writer. The dollar amounts for these awards will be determined based on the recommendations of the IVA Board and the amount available in the Trust Fund, with attentiveness to sustainability.

The Indigenous Voices Awards aim to support Indigenous literary production in its diversity and complexity, understanding Indigenous literatures to include but not be limited to novels, creative non-fiction, short stories, poetry, orality, graphic novels, comics, slam, drama, music lyrics, screenwriting, and other forms. The awards honour the sovereignty of Indigenous creative voices and reject cultural appropriation; to be eligible for the Indigenous Voices Awards, authors must be Indigenous and must sign a declaration of Indigenous identity. The awards are intended to support Indigenous artistic communities and to resist the individualism of prize culture. As such, the IVA Board will endeavour to create opportunities for mentorship, professionalization, and creative collaboration among applicants, jurors, and other members of the Indigenous artistic community when possible.

For the inaugural competition in 2017, the following 8 prizes will be awarded: Five Indigenous Voices Awards for Unpublished Literary Art by Emerging Writers:

  • $2000 for Best Unpublished Prose Piece in English
  • $2000 for Best Unpublished Poetic Piece(s) in English
  • $2000 for Best Unpublished Prose Piece in French
  • $2000 for Best Unpublished Poetic Piece(s) in French
  • $2000 for Best Unpublished Piece in (or incorporating significant use of) an Indigenous Language

Three Indigenous Voices Awards for Published or Performed Literary Art by Emerging Writers

  • $5000 for Most Significant Book of Prose by an Emerging Indigenous Writer
  • $5000 for Most Significant Book of Poetry by an Emerging Indigenous Writer
  • $5000 for Most Significant Work in an Alternative Format by an Emerging Indigenous Writer

For the subsequent competitions, 2 prizes will be awarded:

  • Award for Most Significant Work by an Emerging Indigenous Writer
  • Award for Most Significant Work by an Established Indigenous Writer

In future years, the number of prizes, their amounts, and their stipulations will be determined by the IVA Board based on the amount of money available in the Trust Fund, feedback from the Indigenous literary community, and reassessment of the campaign’s goals and objectives, with attentiveness to sustainability. The precise details of the awards will be subject to alteration based on decisions of the IVA Board, while ensuring the awards continue to support Indigenous literary arts and artists.

Submissions for the 2017 competition will be accepted from October 31st 2017 to January 31st 2018, and award winners will be announced in May/June 2018.

Notes:

For a definition of “emerging Indigenous literary artist,” please see below.

 Note that dollar figures for individual prizes and for the total purse in a given year are subject to change based on the amount available in the Trust Fund and will be determined by the Board with attentiveness to sustainability.

Published work will be considered eligible for these prizes provided it either appeared on the market between January 1st and December 31st of the year in question or has an official publication date between January 1st and December 31st of the year in question.

On “Emerging” and “Established” Writers

While for many people the category of “emerging writer” implies youth, ILSA and the prize committee recognize that there are Indigenous artists of diverse ages who are finding their voice as writers, including many older people and even quite a few elders. Our definition of “emerging” is not focused on age but on the writer’s history of publication. For the purposes of these awards, “emerging” refers to writers who are thus far unpublished or whose substantive publication history is seven years or less and who have published fewer than three books. Writers whose work is outside those parameters but who feel that they should be considered in this competition are asked to provide a brief statement of no more than 300 words on their eligibility. In such cases, the IVA Board will provide final determination of eligibility for the jury to consider. “Established” writers are those with a publishing history of more than seven years or that includes three or more published books (or the equivalent in an alternative format) at the point of submitting materials for the competition.

The Indigenous Voices Awards Board

The board of the Indigenous Voices Awards consists of the Executive Members of the Indigenous Literary Studies Association and one member external to ILSA appointed for knowledge of and esteem in relation to the Indigenous Literary Arts Community.

2017 IVA Board Membership

  • CHAIR: Sam McKegney, Past President of ILSA
  • Deanna Reder, Past President of ILSA
  • Jesse Archibald-Barber, President of ILSA
  • Sarah Henzi, Secretary of ILSA
  • Aubrey Hanson, Treasurer of ILSA
  • Svetlana Seibel, Early Career Representative of ILSA
  • Jordan Abel, Graduate Representative of ILSA
  • Daniel Heath Justice, External Representative

IVA Board Structure 

  • CHAIR: ILSA Past President
  • President of ILSA
  • President Elect of ILSA
  • Secretary of ILSA
  • Treasurer of ILSA
  • Early Career Representative of ILSA
  • Graduate Representative of ILSA
  • External Representative Appointed for Knowledge of and Esteem in
  • Relation to the Indigenous Literary Arts Community

The Board will select the jurors for the Indigenous Voices Awards competition each year. The Chair of the Board will accept and anonymize submissions (where appropriate); the Chair will circulate submissions among the jurors; and the Board will consult with the jury on procedural matters. No member of the Board, however, will participate in judging in any way.

Jurors Selection

The Jurors are selected by the IVA Board based on their esteem in the field of Indigenous literature, its production, and its study. A majority of the members on the Jury must be Indigenous. Juries must include published authors. Juries must also include at least one member fluent in each of English and French. For the 2017 competition there will be seven members of the Jury. The number of Jurors for subsequent competitions will be determined by the IVA Board and will likely be either 3 or 5. Jurors must recuse themselves from the evaluation of submissions of work published by a press for which they are a paid employee, as well as any submissions upon which they have worked or consulted in the past (as editors, creative writing instructors, mentors, or otherwise). They must also recuse themselves from the evaluation of any submissions by family members or close friends. Jurors who work for literary presses must agree not to approach applicants to this competition in relation to the potential publication of their work submitted to the competition for a period of one year.

For the 2017 competition, the selected jury consists of the following:

  • Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm
  • Virginia Pésémapéo Bordeleau
  • Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley
  • Shelagh Rogers
  • Rodney Saint-Éloi
  • Gregory Scofield
  • Richard Van Camp

Brief biographies of the 2017 jurors can be found here.

Eligibility and submissions click here.