This annual award celebrates critical writing and commentary on the visual, performing and literary arts.  It is intended to honour informed and compelling writing that stimulates critical thinking, fosters ongoing discussion about the role of arts and culture in contemporary society and gives evidence of the importance of critical writing as a tool in our understanding and importance of the world around us. Established in 2017 and supported by the Yosef Wosk Family Foundation, the award celebrates the distinguished career of Vancouver author, commentator and arts critic Max Wyman. Affectionately known as “The Max,” it is intended to honour writers who have amassed a significant body of work. The winner receives a cash prize of $5,000 and a gold and emerald pin created by Vancouver artist Robert Chaplin. A secondary mentorship prize recognizes an emerging critical writer.

Originally known as the Max Wyman Award for Critical Commentary, the prize was later renamed to give a more precise indication of its intentions.


 The award was established to catalyze the art of creative criticism. As our society matures, feedback must also deepen and respond to inspired offerings. This province-wide award is presented to a writer for an outstanding piece or body of work that will raise the level of cultural conversation and, ultimately, human creativity.

The award is named in honour of Max Wyman, O.C., D.Litt. (hon). He is a cultural paragon whose clear vision, incisive writing and fearless voice have both grounded and encouraged us. From his genesis in England (b. May 14, 1939) to his half-century here in British Columbia he has been an unparalleled personality, a cultural critic and midwife of creativity whose influence is sure to be modelled by future generations. 


A Committee consisting of arts consultant Merla Beckerman, former chair of the B.C. Arts Council, Yosef Wosk, and Max Wyman oversees the award.

Eligible subjects of criticism include the visual arts, architecture and design, theatre, literature, dance, music, film and television, as well as more general cultural commentary.  Admissible formats include commentaries in print, on air and on-line. Candidates must be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, working primarily in B.C.

An independent jury of three individuals familiar with the critical writing community in the province selects the award recipients. Neither applications nor nominations are accepted as part of the selection process.

On the other hand, the one being critiqued does not have to accept the review. After all, it is only someone else’s opinion and the playwright could declare with the inimitable Oscar Wilde: “The play was a great success, but the audience was a total failure.” – Yosef Wosk.