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Poet, writer Ellen Burt is the 2023 Richard Carver Award recipient

The award is presented annually to an emerging writer
Ellen Burt is the recipient of the 2023 Richard Carver Award

Submitted by the Nelson and District Arts Council and the Elephant Mountain Lit Fest

The Nelson and District Arts Council and Elephant Mountain Lit Fest are thrilled to announce this year’s recipient of the Richard Carver Award for emerging writers. Writer and poet Ellen Burt has been chosen by a jury to receive the award this year.

Burt’s letters of nomination highlighted the quality of her work, community involvement and support of the literary community.

From her nomination letter: “Her writing draws the reader into every scene and character and emotion. Ellen is a naturalist! Her connection with the mountains, valleys, plants and animals is always present. Ellen is a poet! Spoken Word is her art and she wins because her poetry and delivery comes from her heart.”

An arms-length jury reviewed Burt’s work and one juror stated, “Ellen’s dedication to sharing her story through the written word has been an ongoing inspiration to the community of writers and poets alike. The way she performs her spoken word poetry shocks crowds and is welcomed deeply into the heart. She reminds us, who read and listen to her work, of our innate connection and integral humanity.”

The award was handed out at an event during Elephant Mountain Lit Fest in September by former recipient Sarah Beauchamp.

After Richard Carver passed away in 2009, the Arts Council founded this award, which has been awarded eight times. Children’s author Darcee O’Hearne was the recipient in 2013, followed by poet Jane Byers in 2014.

In 2015 Elephant Mountain Lit Fest became a partner in the award. The recipients from 2015 to 2017 were Susan Dancer, Avi Silberstein, Donna Macdonald, Alanda Greene, and Diana Morita Cole.

In 2018 the Carver Award honoured longtime literary advocates Morty Mint and Ernest Hekkanen.

The recipients from 2019 to 2022 were Rayya Liebich, Danielle LaRocque, Beauchamp with honourable mention to Vera Maloff, and poet Zaynab Mohammed.

Richard Carver was invested in the community as a lover of the arts and the Kootenays. He was a mover and shaker on the board of the Nelson and District Arts Council, and the primary sponsor of this award named in his honour.

The Nelson and District Arts Council and Elephant Mountain Lit Fest would like to thank all of the nominees, nominators, and the jury for all their work and commitment to the literary scene here in the district.

For more information, please visit the Nelson and District Arts Council website at Inquiries may be sent to