Gord Grisenthwaite, 54, has been named the 2013 recipient of the John Kenneth Galbraith Literary Award for his short story, The Fine Art of Frying Eggs.
"I'm totally thrilled by this," Grisenthwaite said Sunday. "It's a fine feather in my cap."
Grisenthwaite intends to put his career as a graphic designer on hold as he pursues a full-time writing career.
"I don't expect to get rich doing this, but I do expect to be fulfilled as an artist," he said.
The award was announced Saturday in Galbraith's hometown of Dutton-Dunwich in Southern Ontario. The Fine Art of Frying Eggs is about a man struggling to resolve his feelings for the woman he loves.
Judges, including Walrus magazine publisher John Macfarlane, praised the work as "gritty" and said Grisenthwaite's writing style showed great promise. The story can be read at johnkennethgalbraithliteraryaward.ca
Although Grisenthwaite did not travel to Ontario to receive the award, and the $2,000 prize that goes with it, he mailed contest organizers a statement that reads, in part:
"All the stories I have were given to me - I don't wish to sound New Age-y - by something or someone I refer to as Story, and once I commit to recording them, the characters dictate their progress."
"In some ways, when I write, it feels as if I am merely taking dictation or transcribing a movie."
A member of the Lytton First Nation who lives in Kelowna, Grisenthwaite entered writing competitions in the early 1980s, but then wrote nothing for about 20 years.
Grisenthwaite's experience as an evacuee during the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire triggered something inside him, he said. He wrote about the fire in Touch The Flame, and has since been named as a finalist in several writing competitions.
Since committing this year to a full-time writing career, he has produced 15 short stories and is working on a novel.
As well as being a leading advocate of liberal economic policies and diplomat for decades in the latter half of the 20th century, Galbraith was the author of four dozen books, including some novels.