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About the Award

The Matt Cohen Award recognizes a lifetime of distinguished work by a Canadian writer working in poetry or prose in either French or English. The prize was established in celebration of the life of Matt Cohen, a founding member of the Writers’ Union of Canada.

2023 Winner


Selection Committee Citation

Helen Humphreys has said that writing a novel is like trying to break out of the prison you’ve created by your idea. In that sense, Humphreys is an accomplished escape artist, having written twelve novels, five books of poetry, and five books of nonfiction.   

In her most recent work, such as Machine Without Horses and the forthcoming Followed by the Lark, she explores the fertile territory in the overlap between fiction and nonfiction, and between nature and the human experience. Humphreys’ quiet brilliance has made her one of Canada’s most beloved writers. In book after book, she has led her many readers into ever new and exciting territory. 

Author Page
“Winning the Matt Cohen Award is a really significant and profoundly touching life-changing honour, and I thank you incredibly much.”

— Richard Wagamese

2015 Matt Cohen Award winner

About Matt Cohen

A founding member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, Mr. Cohen was a celebrated and prolific writer who died in 1999 at the age of 56. This prize was established in his name by a group of anonymous donors.


Lorraine Greey

Writers’ Trust thanks David and Marla Lehberg for their longstanding support of this prize.