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Steven Heighton is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. His latest novel, The Nightingale Won’t Let You Sleep, has been optioned for film and his novel Afterlands was a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice. In 2016, Heighton received a Governor General’s Literary Award for his poetry collection The Waking Comes Late. He has received four gold National Magazine Awards for his short fiction and poetry, which have appeared in numerous publications. Heighton has also been nominated for a Trillium Award and the W.H. Smith Award. He lives in Kingston, Ontario.


Steven Heighton on Reaching Mithymna, Weston Prize finalist

Award History

2020 Finalist

Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction
for Reaching Mithymna: Among the Volunteers and Refugees on Lesvos

Jury Citation

“We know Steven Heighton as an award-winning poet and novelist. With Reaching Mithymna, he emerges as an indelible nonfiction writer. Combining his poetic sensibilities and storytelling skills with a documentarian’s eye, he has created a wrenching narrative from the front lines of the Syrian refugee crisis. In 2015, Heighton travelled to Greece, his mother’s homeland, equipped with a duffel bag, a notebook, and a conscience. Reaching Mithymna is a heart-rending story of humanity and sacrifice by a writer who put his own life on hold in a desperate and often futile attempt to help shipwrecked strangers find a safe and secure future for themselves and their children.”

— 2020 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction jury (Helen Knott, Sandra Martin, and Ronald Wright)