The winner of this year's Herb Wyile Prize in Canadian Literature is Sarah Wylie Krotz for her essay “The Affective Geography of Wild Rice: A Literary Study” published in the special 19th-Century issue, 42.1 (2017). The winning essay was selected by a committee of three adjudicators — Wendy Roy (Saskatchewan), Jennifer Andrews (UNB), and Faye Hammill (Strathclyde) — from among the essays that appeared in SCL’s two issues published in 2017. The prize has a value of $500.
The prize judges had this to say:
“The Affective Geography of Wild Rice: A Literary Study” is a remarkable study of how the complex significance of wild rice opens up a rich conversation between “colonial Canadian natural history and Anishnaabe accounts of the plant and its history” to illuminate its role in the past and the present. By attending to the emotions and bodily sensations of the geography of wild rice as depicted in a variety of literary representations over the past two centuries, Krotz demonstrates how a grain becomes a marker for and representation of an intricate set of interactions that reveal what is lost in translation within the colonial encounter. She also raises critical questions about the singularity of Canadian law by probing the significance of wild rice as a manifestation or embodiment of Anishnaabe law. The result is an article that persuasively and thoughtfully reconfigures how readers may understand the “literary history” of rice and the challenge such a reading poses to the white settler colonial mindset that has so fundamentally shaped English-Canadian literature.
Honorable mention goes to Chantal Richard for her essay “Discours identitaires véhiculés par les premiers journaux francophones en Acadie (1867-1900): Confédération ou colonisation?” published in 42.1 (2017).