Last Monday Saskatchewan writer Candace Savage was awarded the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction at a ceremony in Toronto. Her book, which was published by Greystone Books and the David Suzuki Foundation, is called A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory From a Prairie Landscape,  and it explores the turbulent geological and colonial history of the Cypress Hills region.

Some of that same ground was covered in Guy Vanderhaeghe’s award-winning 1996 novel The Englishman’s Boy. It dealt specifically with the 1873 Cypress Hills Massacre, though, while Savage’s book takes a more expansive view of the area and its history. For more info, here’s a link to the Writers’ Trust online announcement of Savage’s win.

On Thursday Nov. 22, by the way, Savage will be delivering a talk at the Education Auditorium, University of Regina at 7 p.m. The talk is titled Grasslands in Peril,  and it concerns the proposed plan by the Saskatchewan government to sell, lease or otherwise dispose of community pastures that the federal government recently divested itself of as part of its broader privatization agenda. The pastures consist of about one million acres of land that are one of the last refuges for native prairie grasses in our region. 

On the same subject, on Friday Nov. 24 there’s a day-long forum at the Orr Centre (4400 4th Ave.) on the future of the pastures, and the possible threat privatization poses to their environmental well-being and the economic viability of smaller-scale ranchers who have long relied on the pastures to help graze their livestock. The forum, which includes a noon-hour panel discussion featuring key stakeholders, is being hosted by the Regina Public Interest Research Group. Here’s a link to their website for more info.