Ryga’s legacy lives on despite closure of his former home
With the recent closure of the George Ryga Centre in Summerland, the Okanangan continues to honour the home’s namesake, late author and playwright George Ryga.
On Monday, The George Ryga Award For Social Awareness in Literature was presented to internationally renowned author Joel Bakan.
Author of The Corporation and a law professor based out of Vancouver, Bakan received the award for his most recent publication Childhood Under Siege.
Hosted by Okanagan College professors Jake Kennedy and Norah Bowman Broz at the Bohemian Café in Kelowna, Bakan was presented with the physical Ryga award, The Censor’s Golden Rope, sculpted by Armstrong artist Reg Kienast.
Following the presentation, Bakan proceeded to give an in-depth, hour-long presentation on his award winning book.
“This comprehensive discourse was followed by an intense and stimulating discussion,” said Ken Smedley, former manager of the Ryga centre and one of the award founders.
Smedley has also made the announcement that after 17 consecutive years of songwriters workshops held at the George Ryga Centre, Bill Henderson and Roy Forbes have decided to take a break this spring before proceeding with the 18th annual workshop, to be held April 25 and 26, 2014.
“The year of postponement will give song doctors Henderson and Forbes an opportunity to take a brief sabbatical to re-evaluate and further fine tune their highly successful workshop attended by literally hundreds of songwriters over the years,” said Smedley, adding, “Part of the reason for the brief hiatus is the consideration of a new location for the workshop. Serious consideration is being given to the Okanagan College Vernon campus theatre.”
The brief sabbatical will also give songwriters additional time to prepare their material.
Submissions should include two songs (one of their best and one they would like to work one on with Henderson or Forbes), recorded on CD (no tapes), with two sets of typewritten lyrics, plus a $30 submission fee (payable by cheque or money order to Bill Henderson) submitted to Ken Smedley, Box 323, Armstrong, B.C., VOE 1BO. (Cost of the full weekend workshop, should the person be accepted, is $250.)
“Submissions will be evaluated in the order that they are received so it is advisable to submit early,” said Smedley. “This workshop has a reputation for filling up rapidly.”
In the event a songwriter’s material is accepted for the workshop, he or she may be selected to perform live in concert with Henderson and Forbes in the prestigious Songwriters Showcase, traditionally presented on the Friday evening prior to the weekend workshop.