The annual Richard Carver Award has been given to Nelson poet Zaynab Mohammed. L-R: Lucy Carver-Brennan, Jocelyn Carver, Zaynab Mohammed, and 2014 recipient Jane Byers. Photo: Anthony Sanna

The annual Richard Carver Award has been given to Nelson poet Zaynab Mohammed. L-R: Lucy Carver-Brennan, Jocelyn Carver, Zaynab Mohammed, and 2014 recipient Jane Byers. Photo: Anthony Sanna

Zaynab Mohammed receives Richard Carver Award

The Nelson poet was awarded for her writing and community work

Submitted by Nelson and District Arts Council

The Nelson and District Arts Council and Elephant Mountain Literary Festival are thrilled to announce this year’s recipient of the Richard Carver Award for emerging writers. Writer Zaynab Mohammed has been chosen to receive the award this year.

Mohammed’s multiple letters of nomination highlighted the quality of her work, community involvement and support of the literary community. From one nomination letter: “Zaynab is truly a bright sparkling intellect who is able to widely speak to diverse people’s … due to her unique background, life paths taken and above all her incredible artistic expression, which can be appreciated in her poetry, her musical poem renditions of contemporary society, and her magnetic and light-hearted personality!”

An arms-length jury reviewed Mohammed’s work and one jurors stated, “Zaynab’s poetry conveys powerful messages through simple lines, often employing inclusive language to place readers or listeners on the inside of a poem, positioning them within a collective. Her work is both poignant and accessible.”

The award was handed out on June 25 at an Elephant Mountain Literary Festival event. Richard’s daughter Jocelyn Carver, an arts lover herself, has continued the family’s generous support of this award and was on hand to present the award.

“It’s such a gift for my family to be able to remember my father every year, surrounded by inspired and inspiring authors,” said Jocelyn. “That the award recognizes and provides a platform for emerging writers is very in keeping with his love and support for artists of all kinds. Zaynab lifted me up with her poetry performance on Saturday, so the exchange is both intergenerational and instant! A huge thanks to NDAC and EMLF … local heroes all!

After Richard Carver passed away in 2009, the arts council founded this award, which has been awarded nine previous times. Children’s author Darcee O’Hearne was the recipient in 2013, followed by poet Jane Byers in 2014. In 2015 the Elephant Mountain Literary Festival became a partner in the award, which that year was split between two deserving authors, Susan Dancer and Avi Silberstein. The recipients in 2016 were Donna Macdonald and Alanda Greene. In 2017 the recipient was Diana Morita Cole. In 2018 the Carver Award honoured longtime literary advocates Morty Mint and Ernest Hekkanen, and in 2019 the award returned to recognition of an emerging writer, poet Rayya Liebich. In 2020 author Danielle LaRocque was honoured. In 2021 Sarah Beauchamp was the recipient of the award with an honorary mention going to Vera Maloff.

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 Literary Festival 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 www.ndac.ca. Inquiries may be sent to: richardcarveraward@gmail.com.