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Okanagan College professors make a ruckus with words and Ryga
Okanagan College Media Release

Word artists of all ages and genres get a chance to experience the randomness of the literary world on Saturday, March 23 when they collide at Word Ruckus 2013: a Festival of Words & Community.

“Word Ruckus is an all-ages literary shin-dig, a pay what you can writerly free-fer-all, a poetic hoe-down and a magical linguistical brouhaha,” said Okanagan College English professor Jake Kennedy who is organizing Word Ruckus along with fellow writer and English professorial colleague kevin mcpherson eckhoff.

Now in its fifth year, the nine-hour ruckus takes place at the Laurel Packinghouse in Kelowna, starting at 4 p.m. and winding up in the wee hours. The event is sponsored by Okanagan College with support from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Helping to make the ruckus will be:
-       14 professional writers reading poems, stories, novels and plays
-       the “poetry” car primed to be covered in words
-       free radical workshop with Studio One11 Zine Makers
-       plus the Kids Giving Famous Author Haircuts Extravaganza

Along with the shenanigans will be the announcement of this year’s George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature, sponsored by both Okanagan College and BC BookWorld.

Vying for this year’s prize are three finalists: Michael Christie for The Beggar’s Garden, Joel Bakan for Childhood Under Siege, and Howard White for his book A Hard Man to Beat.

Announcing the award will be Angie Abdou, one of the judges and an author herself whose first novel The Bone Cage was a finalist for the CBC 2011 Canada Reads.

“These books moved me – to appreciate the work of unions, to empathize with the homeless and mentally ill, to protect our children from a world gone mad,” Abdou said. “I applaud all three of the talented authors and feel lucky to have encountered these books, each of which – in its own way – has the power to make a real difference in the world.”

Word Ruckus will also feature the practical side of the publishing industry with a demonstration of hand-setting on a flat-bed letterpress, conducted by Okanagan College professor and book-maker Jason Dewinetz.

To keep everyone hopping, music will be provided by the Word Ruckus house band Murmur.

Admission is “pay what you can,” said Kennedy. Doors open at 4 p.m. For more information, contact Jake Kennedy at