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The 10th KOBZAR Book Award Presentation was a great success! 150 guests from across Canada gathered on March 21 at Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights to celebrate our Canadian storytellers.

The Ukrainian story in Canada spans over 130 years from the first settlers in 1891 to today’s newly arrived Ukrainians displaced by the war in their homeland. The Shevchenko Foundation launched the KOBZAR Book Award (KBA) with a mission to encourage writers to interpret our Ukrainian Canadian stories boldly and creatively for the world to enjoy.

The creators of this year’s shortlisted books were recognized for their compelling reads that take us on a journey through world history, introduce us to the intergenerational challenges of cultural identity, and remind us of our continuing role in building a better society today.

The evening’s host was award-winning journalist Terry MacLeod. A leading figure in the Winnipeg culture, politics and creative communities, Terry engaged our guests of honour in discussion that shed light on the challenges and the driving forces of their successful writing careers.

Authors of books shortlisted for the 2024 KOBZAR Book Award from left: Andrew Stobo Sniderman and Douglas Sanderson (Valley of the Birdtail), Ivanka Theodosia Galadza (illustrator, Five Stalks of Grain), Barbara Joan Scott (The Taste of Hunger), Adrian Lysenko (Five Stalks of Grain), Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch (Winterkill), and Natalie Kononenko (Ukrainian Ritual on the Prairies)

The Honour Song was beautifully performed by Sarah DeLaronde who is Ininiw, Salteaux, and Métis. Born in Treaty 5 Territory, Sarah is a member of Cross Lake Band of Indians.

Welcoming guests to the event, Shevchenko Foundation President Boris Balan spoke of the significance of literature to Ukrainians in Canada who brought with them a love of the written word as a foundation of their identity and culture.

“Soon after the arrival of the first immigrants from Ukraine over 130 years ago, Ukrainians started publishing books, newspapers, and magazines, providing important information about their new homeland, reports on developments in Ukraine, and strengthening the cultural bonds and identity of the community,” Balan noted. “Many people here tonight may not know that the very first newspaper in the world to call itself “Ukrainian”, Ukraiinskyi Holos, was founded here in Winnipeg in 1910, and the first bookstore of any kind in Edmonton was a Ukrainian bookstore. Reading rooms were established everywhere to share these works, including with many who did not have formal education and had limited reading skills. In fact, one of the beauties of the written word is its longevity, always available on bookshelves for generations to enjoy.”

Terry MacLeod
Sarah DeLaronde
The Hon. Glen Simard

Greetings from the Province of Manitoba were delivered by the Hon. Glen Simard, Minister of Sport, Culture, Heritage, and Tourism. Minister Simard spoke warmly about his ties to the Ukrainian community in Manitoba, highlighting the community’s great contribution to the province’s development.

The highlight of the evening were the distinguished authors who were being recognized for their masterful writing and creative skills with which they offer readers a lens focused on the Ukrainian identity. Following introductory videos, the six authors and one illustrator had the opportunity to read excerpts from their books.

In the past year, the arts community lost two creative talents and past recipients of the KBA, both with close ties to the local Winnipeg community. The legacies of theatre producer and director Andrey Tarasiuk, and composer, writer, theatre and film producer Danny Schur were remembered in a poignant tribute.

Closing remarks were delivered by KBA Honorary Patron since its inception, the Hon. Raynell Andreychuk. Highlighting the beauty and richness of Ukrainian culture, she reminded guests of their role in preserving this culture for future generations as the Ukrainian people continue to fight for its very existence.

Dr. Lindy Ledohowski and Boris Balan accept award on behalf of Myrna Kostash

The evening culminated with the anticipated announcement. TSF President Boris Balan joined the three esteemed adjudicators – Kate Edwards, Carol Holmes, and 2022 KBA winner Maria Reva, for the presentation of the 2024 KBA to Edmonton-based writer Myrna Kostash for her chronicle Ghosts in a Photograph.

Unfortunately, Myrna Kostash was unable to attend the event. However, her acceptance speech was read by TSF Director and past recipient of the KBA, Dr. Lindy Ledohowski. In her remarks, Kostash, who published her first book All of Baba’s Children 46 years ago, shared the following about her chronicle:

“…it is as a mature writer that I looked again with new interest at my origins in Ukrainian settlement in Alberta – that is, the lives of my grandparents rural and urban – and entered that narrative as though we were still in each other’s company. Further, I linked each of their stories to the family narratives that kept on evolving in Galicia beyond our kin in Canada.”

Kostash also expressed her deepest gratitude to the Shevchenko Foundation – its Board of Directors, its staff, and donors – and the jurors for their work in honouring Canadian writing and publishing in this generous fashion.

The winner of the KOBZAR Book Award receives a $20,000 prize and an exquisite bronze sculpture designed by sculptor Oleh Lesiuk. The publisher of the winning title receives $5,000.

The Shevchenko Foundation extends warmest thanks to all its guests, event committee, adjudicators, creatives, volunteers, sponsors and donors for supporting this book award that acknowledges and shares the wonderful contributions of Ukrainians to the great Canadian mosaic.

And our biggest thank you to the authors for adding yet more chapters to the great Ukrainian Canadian story!

We’re pleased to share a link to our photo gallery:

More on the KOBZAR Book Award and the shortlisted authors is available by visiting

The author videos directed and produced by filmmaker Ryan Boyko can be viewed on our YouTube channel:

Please keep reading and supporting our authors! We have so many wonderful stories that are waiting to be shared!