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Steven Heighton (1961-2022) was a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Heighton received a 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for his poetry collection, The Waking Comes Late, and his novel, Afterlands, was selected as a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice. He has received four gold National Magazine Awards for his short fiction and poetry, which have appeared in numerous publications. Heighton was also nominated for a Trillium Award and the W.H. Smith Award. He lived 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)