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David Adams

David Adams Richards is a recipient of the Writers’ Trust’s Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life. A novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and poet, in 2017 he was appointed to the Senate of Canada, representing New Brunswick. He received a Governor General’s Literary Award for the novel Nights Below Station Street in 1988, and won again for his nonfiction book, Lines on Water: A Fly Fisherman’s Life on the Miramichi, a decade later. In 2000, Mercy Among the Children won the Giller Prize. This fall he will publish Murder: And Other Essays. Richards lives in Fredericton.

Award History

Selection Committee Citation

“David Adams Richards was born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, in 1950, and is the author of fourteen novels, a book of short stories, and five books of nonfiction. The Washington Post called his novel Mercy Among the Children ‘a contemporary masterpiece ... in the ... tradition of Tolstoy, Camus and Melville.’ The Globe and Mail, called a recent book of nonfiction, God Is, ‘an unconventional prose-poem in three movements, extolling plain speaking about the mysterious moments that transformed the child born lame on the left side and who became the drinking companion of arsonists, thieves, drug dealers and murderers, into the mature writer too often called our Tolstoy and too rarely our Blake.’ Whether we call him our Tolstoy, Camus, Melville, or Blake, we are delighted to call this year’s winner of the Matt Cohen Award simply our David Adams Richards.”
— 2011 Matt Cohen Award Committee (Patsy Aldana, Graeme Gibson, and Wayne Grady)

Jury Citation

“In a career spanning three decades, David Adams Richards has created a body of work remarkable for its consistency, passion, and power. While his novelist’s eye has always remained firmly fixed on the landscape and people of his native New Brunswick, his tragic-comic vision transforms these particulars into a profound universal drama focussed on the meaning of human dignity and morality.”
— 2004 Timothy Findley Award Jury (Bill Gaston, Susan Swan, and Guy Vanderhaeghe)

Program History

2019 Selector

Rising Stars


Works recognized by WT

For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down

Lines on the Water: A Fisherman’s Life on the Miramichi

The Lost Highway

Mercy Among the Children

Nights Below Station Street