2016 Writers' Trust Fellow

Miriam Toews, Toronto

Miriam Toews WT Fellow 
Selected Publications

  • Swing Low: A Life (2000)
  • A Complicated Kindness (2004)
  • The Flying Troutmans (2008)
  • Irma Voth (2011)
  • All My Puny Sorrows (2015)


About the Author

Miriam Toews WT Fellow

Miriam Toews was born and raised in the Mennonite town of Steinbach, Manitoba. She is the author of six novels and one work of nonfiction. Toews is a recipient of a Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (twice), and the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award. Her novel A Complicated Kindness won the 2006 edition of CBC Canada Reads. She was awarded the Harbourfront Festival Prize last month in recognition of her advocacy for the mentally ill and support for young writers. A native of Manitoba, Toews now lives in Toronto.

Jury Citation

Miriam Toews is a writer central to our national literature, straddling with ease the often separate worlds of critical acclaim and popular grass-roots readership. She has given the Manitoba Mennonites—heretofore a community under-represented almost to the point of invisibility—a worldwide profile, and she has done it in ways that make their deeply rooted stories universal.

Among her many strengths are her rare gift for inhabiting the minds of children and adolescents, and a mastery of family dynamics: typically vivid and movingly drawn is the sibling relationship at the heart of her novel All My Puny Sorrows. With the imaginative memoir Swing Low: A Life, about her father, she explored the theme of mental illness with a bravery few writers have shown. She has a unique ability to generate humour alongside heartache, enlivening life’s dark moments with her quick, offhand wit.

Toews is prolific, deeply engaged in the Canadian conversation, an indispensable voice, one of the greatest writers this country has ever produced.

About the Writers’ Trust Fellowship  

The Fellowship will annually award one writer $50,000 for demonstrating exceptional creative ability and outstanding promise in their publications to date, and displaying promise to add to that work. Writers working in the categories of fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, or literature for young people, and at any stage of their careers, are considered. Writers are considered without regard to whether or not they have been or are likely to be recipients of other literary honours or achieve commercial success. The Writers’ Trust Fellowship was inaugurated in 2015 as a three-year initiative.




Woodcock Fund


Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing


September 19 for books published between June 201 and September 18, 2018


Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction
and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize


July 18 for books published between May 16 and Sept 30, 2018


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