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Vancouver, B.C. — David Suzuki, voted one of the top ten Greatest Canadians, Companion of the Order of Canada and author of 52 books, is the 18th recipient of the George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding literary achievement in British Columbia.

The award will be presented to Dr. Suzuki on February 3 by Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood, a long-time friend of Dr. Suzuki and an honorary Board member of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Mayor Gregor Robertson will attend the award ceremony and read a proclamation in Dr. Suzuki's honour.

"David Suzuki is a trailblazer and it is an honour to recognize him with the prestigious George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award," said Mayor Robertson. "Dr. Suzuki has transformed the way we view our planet and ourselves. His books will continue to inspire, inform and educate people for many years to come."

For his work popularizing science and environmental issues, Dr. Suzuki has been awarded 23 honorary degrees. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976 and upgraded to Companion status (the highest level) in 2006. He has also received the Order of British Columbia, UNESCO's Kalinga Prize for science and a long list of Canadian and international honours.

In 2004, Dr. Suzuki was nominated as one of the top ten Greatest Canadians by CBC viewers. In the final vote he ranked fifth and revealed that his own vote was for Tommy Douglas, the eventual winner.

"I accept this important award, but it really should be on behalf of the Canadian public who read, watched and listened to my work and supported me to make it possible to get my message out," said Dr. Suzuki. "If the public had not been there for me, believe me, I would have had no career in writing or broadcasting. I hope we can take this to the next step which is to act on what I have written over the years."

Dr. Suzuki is one of the few British Columbians who needs little or no introduction, said Alan Twigg of the Pacific BookWorld News Society.

"David Suzuki argues that humans must join together as a species to respond to the problems we face and accept that the laws of nature must take precedence over economics," said Mr. Twigg.

"In terms of planetary influence, few BC authors can match or surpass David Suzuki. His politics are global and environmental and he does things his own way. Still campaigning for change, he represents the best that British Columbia has to offer."

Dr. Suzuki's books, audio recordings and videos are on constant loan to Vancouver Public Library users, said City Librarian Sandra Singh.

"From books for children, to how-to volumes on reducing your ecological footprint and memoirs that explore the effects of being born in Vancouver, interred by your own government and using that experience to excel and prove yourself, David Suzuki has given us literary gifts that will guide and impress generations for many years to come," said Ms. Singh.

"Vancouver Public Library is proud to co-sponsor this annual award and we are delighted that a native Vancouverite whose influence is worldwide and whose heart has always been at home is the recipient of this year's prize."

The City of Vancouver, Vancouver Public Library and the non-profit Pacific BookWorld News Society initiated the annual George Woodcock Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 at the official opening of the Library Square complex. This year's award is also supported by The Writers Trust of Canada and Dr. Yosef Wosk.

Dr. Suzuki's name will be inscribed on a plaque to be added to Writers Walk on the northeast plaza of Library Square and the award includes a $5000 cash prize.

Previous award recipients include Alice Munro, P.K. Page, W.P. Kinsella, Anne Cameron and Chuck Davis.

David Suzuki will receive the award at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on February 3 in conjunction with a Writers Trust of Canada event that Ms. Atwood will attend.

For more information and to arrange interviews, please contact:

Jean Kavanagh
Manager, Marketing & Communications
Vancouver Public Library
604-331-3895; 604-612-4059 cell

February 3, 2011