Holy Family Catholic Regional Division (HFCRD) warmly congratulates St. Andrew’s School graduate Billy-Ray Belcourt of Driftpile Cree Nation who has won one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards, the $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize, for his debut book of poems “This Wound is a World.” Billy-Ray, who is the youngest winner of the prize, wrote his book about the challenges Indigenous peoples face in modern society. Billy-Ray accepted the award on Thursday June 7th in Toronto in front of 320 guests.
According to CBC.ca, Billy-Ray addressed the crowd by saying “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.”
“I had the pleasure of watching Billy-Ray as a student at St. Andrew’s School. As a young man, he was always very reflective and intelligent, and we knew he would let his light shine brightly as an adult. We are very proud of all that he has accomplished,” said St. Andrew’s School Principal Marc Lamoureux. “I can’t wait to see what he does next.”
According to his website, Billy-Ray is a Ph.D. student in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. In 2016, he was the first-ever First Nations Rhodes Scholar. He holds an M.St. in Women’s Studies from the University of Oxford and Wadham College.
Billy-Ray’s book “This Wound is a World” was also named the Most Significant Book of Poetry in English by an Emerging Indigenous Writer at the 2018 Indigenous Voices Awards, and was named the best book of Canadian poetry of 2017 by CBC Books. 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. The book is available online through the Alpine Book Peddlers and Amazon.
Listen to Billy-Ray Belcourt’s interview with CBC Radio here.