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2023 Canadian First Book Prize Winner

2023 Canadian First Book Prize Winner

TORONTO – May 17, 2023 – The Griffin Poetry Prize is pleased to announce that Emily Riddle, author of The Big Melt, is the winner of the 2023 Canadian First Book Prize. She will receive C$10,000 in prize money together with a six-week residency in Italy, in partnership with the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.

Judges Nikola Madzirov (Macedonia), Gregory Scofield (Canada), and Natasha Trethewey (USA) each read 58 Canadian First Book Prize entries.

Emily Riddle will be invited to participate in the 2023 Griffin Poetry Prize Readings, to read from her winning book The Big Melt.

The Readings will be held at Koerner Hall on Wednesday, June 7 and the evening will include a selection of readings by the six finalists, and this year’s Lifetime Recognition Award recipient. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at the box office of Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, or online.

General Admission, with 2023 Anthology – $30.00

Senior/Student, with 2023 Anthology – $25.00

The Griffin Poetry Prize was founded in 2000 to encourage and celebrate excellence in poetry.  

Biography: Emily Riddle is nêhiyaw and a member of the Alexander First Nation in Treaty Six Territory. A writer, editor, policy analyst, language learner, and visual artist, she lives in amiskwaciwâskahikan. She is the senior advisor of Indigenous relations at the Edmonton Public Library. Her writing has been published in The Washington PostThe Globe and MailTeen VogueThe Malahat Review, and Room Magazine, among others. In 2021 she was the recipient of an Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund award. Emily Riddle is a semi-dedicated Oilers fan and a dedicated Treaty Six descendant who believes deeply in the brilliance of the Prairies and their people.

Judges’ Citation: “Emily Riddle’s The Big Melt is nêhiyaw governance, Cree governance, at its single most personal form of self-autonomy. The governance of heart and history, language and landscape, nêhiyaw-askiy, Cree earth/land, is embedded in these warrior-women poems. If there is a trail back to our ancestors and forward to ourselves, these poems call us to be still, and to listen to a new generation of storytellers.”

Note to Booksellers: Griffin Poetry Prize book stickers are supplied free of charge. Please contact Ruth Smith at to place an order. 

Media Inquiries: Melissa Shirley, (647) 389-9510,

General Inquiries: Ruth Smith, Executive Director, (905) 618-0420,

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