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Emily Riddle wins inaugural $10K Griffin Canadian First Book Prize

Emily Riddle

Cree poet Emily Riddle has been awarded the Griffin Poetry Prize Canadian First Book Prize for her debut collection of poetry, The Big Melt (Nightwood Editions).

In their citation, the judges (poets Nikola Madzirov, Gregory Scofield, and Natasha Trethewey) said “the governance of heart and history, language and landscape, nêhiyaw-askiy, Cree earth/land, is embedded in these warrior-women poems. If there is a trail back to our ancestors and forward to ourselves, these poems call us to be still, and to listen to a new generation of storytellers.”

Riddle’s book was one of 58 submitted for the Canadian First Book Prize, awarded this year for the first time. The new award was announced when the Griffin Poetry Prize revealed last fall that it would be merging its international and Canadian categories – and prize amounts – into one single poetry prize as of this year.

The Canadian First Book Prize will be awarded annually to a Canadian poet for a debut collection of poetry. The winning poet also receives a six-week residency in Italy, offered in partnership with the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.

Riddle will also be invited to read from her winning book at the Griffin readings in Toronto on June 7, at which the winner of this year’s Griffin Poetry Prize will be announced.