George Ryga, playwright, novelist (b at Deep Cr, Alta 27 July 1932; d at Summerland, BC 18 Nov 1987). Raised in a Ukrainian farm community in northern Alberta, Ryga received little formal education but nevertheless established himself as a prominent Canadian writer. He was catapulted to fame with The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and Other Plays (1970), a depiction of the plight of Indians as they struggle to come to terms with a society that incites them to rebellion while blanketing them with bureaucratic indifference.
Ryga's other plays and 3 novels, Hungry Hills (1963), Ballad of a Stonepicker (1966) and In the Shadow of the Vulture (1985), also explored the problems of self-doubt, alienation and personal unfulfilment. While stridently critical of society, Ryga's writings are not without humour. His other works include Captives of the Faceless Drummer (1972), Night Desk (1976), Seven Hours to Sundown (1977), Beyond the Crimson Morning (1979) and Two Plays: Paracelsus and Prometheus (1982).