Our Familiar Hunger” by Laisha Rosnau wins the 2020 Kobzar™ Book Award!

The Shevchenko Foundation is pleased to announce that Our Familiar Hunger, by Laisha Rosnau, published by Nightwood Editions, is the winner of the 2020 Kobzar™ Book Award.

Ms Rosnau was presented with the award at a gala award ceremony held at the Palais Royale in Toronto on March 12, 2020, for her book of poetry which explores the lives of Eastern European women from the Holodomor in Ukraine and the internment camps across Canada during World War One, to the 21st century of the sex trade and internet-arranged marriage.

Here’s what the jury had to say about Our Familiar Hunger:

“Laisha Rosnau’s collection is evocative of generations of wronged women, who are at last able to find peace in her prose. A wonderful book.” – Matt Bowes, General Manager of NeWest Press

“I found the poetry here to be simply staggering. At times the beauty and power of the words quite literally took my breath away, like a punch to the stomach.” – Dr. Lindy Ledohowski, winner of the 2018 Kobzar Book Award

“These are poems that cut to the bone, linking lives marked by landscape and gender and history across continents and across generations.” – Nino Ricci, multi award-winning author

Presented biennially, the $25,000 Kobzar™ Book Award recognizes outstanding contributions to Canadian literary arts by authors who write on a topic with a tangible connection to the Ukrainian Canadian experience. $20,000 is awarded to the author; $5,000 to the publisher; and $1,500 to each finalist. Genres include literary non-fiction, fiction, poetry, young readers’ literature, play, screenplay and musical. Distinctive to this Award is monetary payment to the winner’s publisher, in addition to the winning author.

Laisha Rosnau is the author of four award-winning collections of poetry and two critically acclaimed novels. Her maternal grandparents immigrated to the Canadian prairies from Ukraine and both she and her mother were named in honour of the Ukrainian national poet, Lesya Ukrainka. Rosnau now lives in Coldstream, BC, where she is the Cultural Program Coordinator at the Vernon Museum and Archives, and she and her family are resident caretakers of Bishop Wild Bird Sanctuary.