CODE

CODE

September 27, 2014 21:15 ET

Unique Global Program to Develop Love of Reading in Youth Gets Major Support

Literary Prizes Foundation commits $10M in overall support of CODE's Burt Literary Awards

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwired - Sept. 27, 2014) - CODE announced today that the Literary Prizes Foundation has committed a total of $10M in support of its Burt Literary Awards, a global readership initiative and literary awards program aiming to give youth around the world access to engaging books they will want to read.

"This is a very significant contribution to literacy development in Canada and around the world," said CODE Executive Director Scott Walter. "Thanks to this funding, CODE will make an impact in the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people everywhere by putting engaging books in their hands that reflect their own culture and reality."

The Literary Prizes Foundation will provide $1M a year for the global program until 2022. This funding, when added to the financial support already received by CODE since the inception of the Burt Literary Awards in 2008, brings the total contribution from the private Canadian foundation to $10M overall.

The Burt Literary Awards was first implemented in Tanzania in 2008, in an effort to fill the need for interesting and engaging books for young people in English in the country. Since then, the program has been expanded to Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and, most recently, to the Caribbean and Canada, with the Burt Award for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Literature. In all these regions, the Award's goal is the same: fill the need for reading materials that young people can relate to.

In addition to significant prize money for the winning authors, the Burt Literary Awards program ensures that thousands of copies of each winning title are distributed to local youth through their schools, libraries or community centres ― with the help of CODE partners ― through its unique guaranteed book purchase component. As part of the program, CODE also helps to build the capacity of the local publishing sector in each of the developing countries and regions where it works by providing writers and editors with professional development through workshops and mentorship.

"The idea behind the Award is not only to recognize excellence in Young Adult Literature in English, but also ― and more importantly ― to make sure that young people in each of the regions where we work have access to the award-winning books, so they can develop a love of reading and learning that will help them to reach their full potential," said Walter.

Since 2008, the Burt Literary Awards has resulted in the distribution of over 150,000 copies of some 50 titles for young adults in Africa, Canada and the Caribbean. Nearly 900 writers and editors have received training from Canadian and local experts on how to produce high-quality books for young people.

"Words cannot express how grateful we are for the Literacy Prizes Foundation's commitment to the Burt Literary Awards," said Walter. "This is a significant step in helping to increase young people's reading and writing skills around the world. However, there is still much more that could be done with more funding. CODE is actively seeking additional supporters to join this great initiative and increase its impact," he added.

For further details on the Burt Literary Awards, go to www.codecan.org/burt-award

About CODE

With 55 years of evolving success, CODE is Canada's leading international development agency uniquely focused on advancing literacy and education in some of the world's regions in greatest need. By acting to establish and ignite engaging learning environments through the development and publishing of locally authored and designed children books, training teachers and teacher-librarians, resourcing libraries as well as distributing significant numbers of high quality reading materials, CODE focuses on inspiring young minds to improve their literacy and comprehension with the hope that they become critical thinkers and life-long learners, all in working towards nurturing a literate civil society. www.codecan.org

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