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Cumyn is the award-winning author of eleven wide-ranging novels, including the Giller Prize-nominated Burridge Unbound and the Owen Skye series for young readers. At Berton House during his April to June spring residency, the Ottawa-based writer worked on the strange young adult novel called Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend.

Award History

Jury Citation

“Alan Cumyn’s middle grade and young adult novels burst the molds of fiction for the young. A risk-taker in his play with style and imagery, Cumyn expresses with extraordinary vitality the confused morass of emotional and physical change that is part of growing. His Owen Skye books are literary masterpieces of their genre. In the context of three brothers’ grandiose adventures and susceptible imaginations, he evokes fundamental moments when insight shifts: a first realization of mortality, the fleeting time we have on earth, or romantic love that moves from the ideal to the warmly, wonderfully, egg-splatteringly real. Brilliantly exceeding the standards of fiction for the young, Cumyn’s novels for teenagers and children alike show a sure-handed mix of humour, poetry, and melancholy, and an abiding commitment to a young person’s viewpoint.”
— 2016 Vicky Metcalf Award Jury (Deirdre Baker, Jeff Horvath, and Marthe Jocelyn)

Program History

Writer in Residence

Berton House Writers’ Residency

Works recognized by WT

After Sylvia

Dear Sylvia

Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend

The Secret Life of Owen Skye