Writers’ Trust names Miriam Toews recipient of $50,000 Fellowship
Chronicler of the tragi-comedy of family life honoured as a leading writer of our time.
November 23, 2016 – Toronto – At a gala event tonight in Toronto, the Writers’ Trust of Canada named novelist Miriam Toews the recipient of the second annual Writers’ Trust Fellowship. Intended to free writers substantially from financial concerns and provide a window in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible, the Writers’ Trust Fellowship comes with an award of $50,000. In total, three Fellows will be announced over three years, culminating in Canada’s sesquicentennial and a total of $150,000 distributed to Canadian writers. The inaugural recipient was Newfoundland novelist and poet Michael Crummey.
Created to identify and support the leading Canadian writers of our time, this unrestricted Fellowship is awarded to a writer who has demonstrated exceptional creative ability and outstanding promise in their publications to date. The announcement was made at the Writers’ Trust Gala, a black-tie fundraiser held at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, attended by more than 400 guests, including more than 50 guest authors. The event, which was hosted this year by comedian and author Ron Tite, annually raises more than $200,000 to support Writers’ Trust programming.
“I'm deeply, deeply grateful and honoured to be selected for the Writers' Trust Fellowship, especially considering the astounding literary talent in Canada,” said Miriam Toews. “The fellowship affords me an extravagant amount of time to write, and time is the most meaningful gift a writer can receive.”
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 Miriam Toews
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 the 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. Toews lives in Toronto.
“The Writers’ Trust is thrilled to welcome Miriam Toews into the burgeoning community of Writers’ Trust Fellows,” said Mary Osborne, executive director of the Writers’ Trust of Canada. “Miriam is beloved by readers and fellow writers alike for writing with honesty, a unique sense of humour, and heart. We are honoured to support her work, and look forward to reading and sharing the many stories we hope are yet to come.”
The Writers’ Trust Fellow is invited to attend a two-week, self-directed residency at the Leighton Artists’ Colony at The Banff Centre.
Fellows are selected through a two-tier adjudication process involving recommendations from a panel of Canadian literature experts and a final selection committee. Jurors and the selection committee are guaranteed anonymity. The Writers’ Trust accepts nominations for the Fellowship. Nomination forms for the 2017 Fellow will be available in the New Year.
About the Writers’ Trust Fellowship
The Fellowship is part of a three-year plan initiated by the Writers’ Trust to award $150,000 to Canadian writers to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary. Writers working in the categories of fiction, literary nonfiction, poetry, or literature for young people, and at any stage of their careers, are considered. The Fellowship will be awarded to a writer who has demonstrated exceptional creative ability by producing an outstanding body of literary work and displayed the promise to add to that work. 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.
About the Writers’ Trust
The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs that includes ten national literary awards, a fellowship, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country: more than $500,000 each year.
For more information and interview opportunities, contact:
Michaela Cornell, 647-274-6112