Lee Maracle, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, and Gwen Benaway

Learn more about this year's three Distinguished Visiting Writers.

Lee Maracle

Born in North Vancouver, LEE MARACLE is a member of the Sto:lo nation. She is the author of a number of award winning and critically acclaimed literary works. She is co-editor of a number of anthologies including My Home as I Remember. Maracle has published in some of the most prestigious anthologies and scholarly journals worldwide. She is Traditional Teacher for First Nations House at the University of Toronto and teaches in the Indigenous Studies program. She holds an honorary doctor of letters from St. Thomas University, and is a Senior Fellow of Massey College. A recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal and the Order of Canada, Maracle has served as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at four universities. She holds three teaching awards and seven writing awards, including the Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and is a finalist for the prestigious Neustadt award, often referred to as the American Nobel.

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Zahra Siddiqui

LEANNE BETASAMOSAKE SIMPSON is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Working for over a decade an independent scholar using Nishnaabeg intellectual practices, Leanne has lectured and taught extensively at universities across Canada and has twenty years' experience with Indigenous land based education. Leanne's books include Dancing on Our Turtle’s Back, The Gift Is in the Making, Lighting the Eighth Fire (editor), This Is An Honour Song (editor with Kiera Ladner) and The Winter We Danced (Kino-nda-niimi editorial collective). Her latest book, As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom Through Radical Resistance, was awarded Best Subsequent Book by the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King in 2014 and in 2017/18 she was a finalist in the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium Book Award. She has published extensive fiction and poetry in both book and magazine form. Leanne is also a musician combining poetry, storytelling, song writing and performance in collaboration with musicians to create unique spoken songs and soundscapes. She was awarded the inaugural Outstanding Indigenous Artist at the Peterborough Arts Awards in 2018. Leanne is Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and a member of Alderville First Nation.

Gwen Benaway

GWEN BENAWAY is a trans girl of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She has published three collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, Passage, and Holy Wild, and was the editor for an anthology of fantasy short stories, Maiden Mother and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes. Her writing has been critically acclaimed and widely published in Canada, and in 2019 Holy Wild won the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry in English. She was a finalist for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ writers from the Writer’s Trust of Canada, the Lambda Literary Award for Trans Poetry, and the National Magazine Awards and Digital Publishing Awards for her personal essay, A Body Like A Home. Her fourth collection of poetry, day/break, is forthcoming from Book*hug in April 2020. She lives in Toronto, Ontario and is a Ph.D student at the University of Toronto in the Women and Gender Studies Institute.