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Literary prize finalists selected

Jennifer Geens
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Mar 07/05) - There's only a handful of people who know who the top three finalists for the 2005 Nunavut Literary Prize: the Department of Culture, Languages, Elders and Youth and the winners themselves.

NNSL photo/graphic

Morty Alooloo of Arctic Bay accepted a cheque for $6,000 last year for winning the first ever Nunavut Literary Prize. Her essay is now available in a new book from the Nunavut Literacy Council. - photo courtesy of the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth

Their funny stories will appear in an insert in Nunavut News/North later this month with their names removed. The public will be asked to vote for the best work.

The authors' identities will be kept secret until the final winner is announced in April.

"We had 162 people submit stories," said Penny Rumbolt, communications manager for the Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (CLEY).

Some authors submitted more than one entry. Entries could be in either Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun.

"Our judges reviewed them all and picked the top three stories," said Rumbolt.

All the top three entries are in Inuktitut.

Last year's winners are no secret. Nunavut's first Literary Prize winners have just been published in a soft-cover book.

The book has arrived at schools and libraries across the territory and is available free from the Nunavut Literacy Council.

"Taimanit: Short stories written about life on the land" contains Morty Alooloo of Arctic Bay's winning essay on the importance of language in passing down traditional knowledge and Arviat's Paul Issakiark's second place short story about a father and son hunting caribou.

It also features a foreword by Peter Irniq, the Commissioner of Nunavut, and illustrations by Andrea Noveya Duffy of Rankin Inlet.

"The whole purpose of the literary prize is to promote and encourage people to write stories in Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun, and to increase the amount of written material available to adult readers," said Rumbolt.

First prize is $6,000 and second prize is $4,000.