Helen Humphreys

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Helen Humphreys (born 13 June 1961) is a Canadian poet and novelist who has written several books. She was born in London, England, along with her brother Martin and sister Cathy, and now lives in Kingston, Ontario with her dog Hazel. When she was younger she was kicked out of high school and had to attend an alternative school to finish her education.[1] Humphrey's first novel, Leaving Earth, was a New York Times Notable Book in 1998, and was a winner of the City of Toronto Book Award.[2]

Helen Humphreys told Queens University in an interview how she became a writer; "I started writing when I was young and I just kept going. I read voraciously. I sent my poems (for I was writing exclusively poems then) out to magazines, and eventually I began to get them published. My first book of poetry came out when I was 25." [3]



  • Gods and Other Mortals - 1986
  • Nuns Looking Anxious - 1990
  • Listening to Radios - 1990
  • The Perils of Geography - 1995 (Brick Books)
  • Anthem - 1999



  • "Nocturne: On the Life and Death of My Brother" - 2013

Humphreys' Novel Nocturne (2013) is a memoir about the life and death of her brother, Martin. Written entirely in second person, Nocturne is addressed directly to Humphrey's brother, a concert pianist who died in 2009, four months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. [4]


  • New York Times Notable Book (1998) for Leaving Earth
  • City of Toronto Book Award for Leaving Earth[2]
  • Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize (2000) for Afterimage
  • Harbourfront Festival Prize (2009)[5]
  • Canadian Authors Association Award for Poetry for Anthem (1990)
  • The Reinvention of Love (2011) was longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Literary Award and shortlisted for the Canadian Authors Association for Fiction


  • The Commonwealth Writers' Prize for "Afterimage"


  1. ^ Biography at Canadian Authors
  2. ^ a b Linda Richards (October 2002). "Interview with Helen Humphrey". January Magazine. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ [2], National Post, April 5, 2013/
  5. ^ Helen Humphreys wins $10,000 literary prize. CBC News, 23 September 2009.

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