news | Tuesday July 23, 2013
This week, join us as we celebrate the life of an important and fearless Canadian playwright, George Ryga, whose 1967 play The Ecstacy of Rita Joe has evolved into a modern classic.
The George Ryga Society announced yesterday that July 21-27 has been proclaimed George Ryga Week in B.C. by the province’s Lieutenant Governor.
This year, the week falls on Ryga’s birthday instead of on his November 1987 passing. “We are celebrating George’s life,” says the Society’s president, Keith Ferlin. “The week ends on Saturday, July 27th, which would have been George’s 81st birthday.”
In 2012, unfortunate financial circumstances forced the Society to sell the Ryga House, located in Summerland, B.C., which housed a successful Writers in Residence program, among other arts programming.
“As many people know, the home of the George Ryga Centre was sold to handle serious financial issues that were facing the Society,” says Ferlin. “Although the house is now privately owned, the new owner is [our] supporter, so we are very happy that the house is in good hands.”
The net proceeds of the sale have been invested and the Society is in talks with several cultural groups to endow a scholarship for emerging writers.
“As a rural farm boy in northern Alberta, George was encouraged to write as a teenager through scholarships from the IODE and other groups. In that spirit, we intend to endow a lasting legacy to support other writers,” says Ferlin.
On George Ryga’s birthday, July 27, Society members and family members will gather in Summerland’s sunny outdoors to celebrate George’s life for another year.