Robert Kroetsch, writer, has been named the second recipient of the Manitoba Arts Council Arts Award of Distinction. This $30,000 award is presented annually to recognize the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievements by a professional artist.
“Manitoba is tremendously rich in artistic talent,” says Dr. Judith Flynn, Chair of Council, “and we are delighted the jury has unanimously selected Robert Kroetsch, often referred to as the patron saint of prairie writing, to receive this award.”
Robert Kroetsch is the author of 9 internationally acclaimed novels, 12 books of poetry and 5 books of non-fiction, essays and explorations. In his 54 years of published writing, starting with his first story in The Montrealer in 1950, to The Hornbooks of Rita K (poetry, short-listed for the Governor General’s Award in 2002), he has made western Canada and Canadians real to people around the globe. His writing, his teaching and his artistic and critical vision have helped shape both Canadian literature and Canadian culture. His books have been translated into Chinese, Hebrew, German, French and Dutch.
In addition to his personal writing career, Robert Kroetsch has been a teacher to hundreds of students, and a champion of and mentor to many writers whose work is currently making their own mark on the literary scene. Robert Kroetsch has received many honours throughout his career, including the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1969 for The Studhorse Man; an Honourary Doctor of Laws, University of Winnipeg, 1983; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1986; Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, 1995; and an Honourary Doctor of Literature, University College of the Cariboo (British Columbia) in 2002.
Dr. Flynn comments, “This award is the Manitoba Arts Council’s way of acknowledging our senior artists and thanking them for the invaluable contribution they have made to the artistic culture of our province and beyond, and for the legacy they are creating.”
Robert Kroetschwas honoured at a ceremony held in April 2004, where he was presented with his $30,000 Arts Award of Distinction.