Former Canadian Writers-in-Residence Rosemary Nixon, Larissa Lai, Ian Williams, Sara Tilley, and Deborah Willis

About the program

The Calgary Distinguished Writers Program strives to advance the careers of Canadian writers, invigorate the Calgary writing community, and enhance the activities of the Faculty of Arts and the Department of English. The program achieves its objectives through two annual residency programs: one for an emerging Canadian writer, and one for a distinguished writer of international stature.

Since its inception in 1993, the program has brought to Calgary two Nobel Laureates—Derek Walcott and Wole Soyinka—and such literary luminaries as Zadie Smith, Neil Gaiman, Oliver Sacks, Timothy Findley, Thomas King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Alberto Manguel, Margaret MacMillan, Michael Ondaatje, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and illustrator Art Spiegelman, among others.

Selected timeline

Since 1993, the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program has brought outstanding writers to Calgary, many of whom have gone on to achieve incredible things. Below are just a few of the highlights from our writers-in-residence.


Program is founded thanks to a generous donation


Peter Oliva wins the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for The City of Yes


Sina Queyras is a finalist for the Governor General's Award for English-language poetry for Expressway


Marcello Di Cintio wins Writers’ Trust Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Walls: Travels Along the Barricades

Charlotte Gill is finalist for Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe


Eden Robinson wins the Writers Trust Engel/Findley Award for her body of work


Richard Harrison and Oana Avasilichioaei win Governor General's Literary Awards for On Not Losing My Father's Ashes in the Flood and Readopolis

Eden Robinson is shortlisted for the Giller Prize and wins the $50,000 Writers’ Trust Fellowship


Ian Williams wins the Giller Prize for Reproduction, the debut novel he worked on during his CDWP residency

Larissa Lai wins the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Fiction for The Tiger Flu